With BJP closing in on Mamata, will Didi become ‘vulnerable’ in her own state?

Bengal has already got into a hurricane poll campaign mode, with high-voltage drama played out in the streets over the last weekend. Didi sat on dharna for almost 46 hours against the ‘coercive’ Union government.

Written by February 9, 2019 18:31

The election season is here. In less than a month’s time, General Election dates will be declared thereby opening the stage for no-holds barred campaign by all political parties.

And, it’s going to be high-decibel and action-packed poll contest. Arguments have already become shriller and poll campaign is likely to be  more incisive and sharper.

The 2019 Lok Sabha election is set to be hotly contested, with several players in the fray. The high-octane campaign and poll barbs have already set the stage for the pitched battle at the hustings

Bengal has already got into a hurricane poll campaign mode, with high-voltage drama played out in the streets over the last weekend. Didi sat on dharna for almost 46 hours against the ‘coercive’ Union government.

BJP President Amit Shah’s ‘Mission Bengal’ and the target of winning 50% of Lok Sabha seats from the state has already set the cadre into action mode.

Baying for Bengal

The 2019 Lok Sabha election is set to be hotly contested, with several players in the fray. The high-octane campaign and poll barbs have already set the stage for the pitched battle at the hustings.

The bickering over political rallies in the state are on for a month now. TMC government’s repeated denial to Amit Shah’s proposed road shows in Bengal is no secret. In response, the BJP pulled no punches in attacking the TMC for running ‘dictatorial government’ and ‘destroying the democratic fabric.’

For the BJP and Amit Shah’s poll calculus, Bengal is an important state. Sensing losses in Hindi heartland states, the BJP has its eyes set on the Eastern State. Looking to make deep inroads into Mamata’s fort, the saffron party has already gone all out to swing the electorate in its favour.

Assessment of poll analysts has added only to Mamata’s woes. Alarmed by possible BJP sweep in certain pockets, Mamata has become wary of BJP’s overtures and outreach in the state and has resorted to all means to stop its spread.

Didi grandstanding, an election ploy?

Recently, when opposition parties gathered in Bengal to put up a united front, Mamata emerged not just as the face of Opposition but also an alternative who could challenge Narendra Modi in the 2019 elections.

Again, during the CBI raids on Kolkata police commissioner, Mamata pipped her other coalition partners in stealing the show. For three days, she hogged national limelight and seemed to be taking on the Modi government directly.

Mamata dubbed the ‘dharna’ as ‘save the constitution’ protest but it was nothing less than ‘constitutional breakdown’. In one of the rarest developments, CBI officers were detained and taken to police station.

If this was not sufficient, Mamata took to streets, dashed to police chief’s residence and protested with him against the Centre’s ‘arm-tactics’.
Moreover, she also played ‘victim card’ by blaming Narendra Modi and Amit Shah for attacking the federal structure of the Constitution.

Can BJP destabilise TMC in Bengal?

Bengal has long been aligned with Left ideology. Only after 34 years of misrule, it gave Mamata a chance but she has also ensured that Bengali pride remains intact and unhurt.

So, the only way BJP can make inroads is by pushing the ‘religious agenda’. Lately, the religious overtones have also become quite prominent with many BJP leaders claiming that TMC govt is more drawn towards Muharram than Durga Puja.

Mamata meets Sonia and Rahul Gandhi

However, it is also a truth that BJP is fastest growing party in the state, almost displacing once dominant Left to the margins. In the upcoming 2019 elections, BJP is increasingly being seen as Mamata rival which can fetch maximum seats in the state. BJP has set target of winning 22 seats in Bengal. If it reaches anywhere near that number, it will be big jump for it while a big setback for Didi.

Overall, Modi magic may be losing some of its sheen, Rahul Gandhi may have found his new avatar and the regional satraps asserting their ways with aplomb and but the bottom line is that all players are zeroing in on the crucial 42 LS seats in Bengal.