The political situation in West Bengal is heating up ahead of the Assembly elections to be held in March or April next year. It will be a triangular contest between Trinamool Congress (TMC), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and recently formed an electoral alliance of Congress and Left.
The political situation in West Bengal is heating up ahead of the Assembly elections, with all rival parties accusing each other of similar sins.
It will be a triangular contest between Trinamool Congress (TMC), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and recently formed electoral alliance of Congress and Left.
The elections will be held in April-May next year.
Does BJP stand a chance?
The BJP has emerged as the main rival to the Trinamool Congress in this elections. The Saffron party, which has never been in power in the state, won 18 of the 42 seats in West Bengal in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Its vote share increased to 40.64 percent from 10.16 percent in 2016 when it won only 3 seats.
BJP’s performance in the general elections worked as a morale booster for the party leaders, who now claim that the Saffron party will end didi’s decade long rule in the politically polarised state in Assembly polls.
Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Amit Shah was in the state recently on a two-day visit to take stock of the party affairs. His roadshow attracted a huge crowd where he claimed that the party will form the next government in the state. “People of West Bengal are "angry" with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and want a change,” he said.
In a boost for the BJP, TMC’s heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari joined the Saffron party in December. Earlier in 2017, Mukul Roy, who was considered the right hand of Mamata Banerjee, had left Trinamool to join the Saffron party. He is familiar with Mamata Banerjee's style of working.
Although West Bengal will witness a three-way contest in the Assembly elections, the tough fight will be between the BJP and TMC.
Will it be a hat-trick for Mamata Banerjee?
TMC in alliance with the Congress wiped out the CPI(M)-led Left Front government in 2011, securing 184 seats of the 294 seats.
In 2016 Assembly elections, TMC won 211 seats on its own. During the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, Mamata Banerjee played a significant role in uniting opposition parties against the BJP.
She even organised a mega rally of opposition parties in Kolkata to target the BJP. TMC won 22 Lok Sabha seats in 2019 elections, which accounts to 44 percent vote share.
Last year, Mamata also roped in poll strategist Prashant Kishor for her image makeover and prepare a battlefield for Assembly elections.
Mamata, accused of dividing people of the state on religious lines to secure its vote bank, is trying to balance it out after Lok Sabha elections.
Kishor devised several campaigns to help Mamata regain a direct connect with people of the state.
Mamata is indeed a popular and powerful leader who has always taken on the BJP head-on. TMC’s vote share has remained intact despite BJP’s rise in the state in the last five years.
Congress announced an alliance with the Left last week for the 2021 Assembly elections in West Bengal to take on the BJP and TMC.
The two parties also contested the 2016 Assembly elections in the state together, securing 76 seats. However, the Congress contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections all alone and won only 2 seats and 5.6 percent vote share whereas Left failed to secure even a single seat.
Left and Congress alliance doesn’t hold any chance to win the elections, however, it would stop the loyal voter base of Left from shifting to the BJP.
Both Left and Congress have seen a steady decline in their vote share in the state and by coming together, they hope to regain some lost ground in these elections.