Can divided opposition in Bengal be an advantage for the BJP?

Published : Apr 06, 2019 11:36 am | By: Priya Ghosh

Can divided opposition in Bengal be an advantage for the BJP?


The general election is round the corner and the state of Bengal is gearing up for an intense battle between the TMC and BJP.. With the CPI(M) and the Congress, the main opposition in the state divided, the BJP might be able to gain momentum in the state.

 The nation is gearing up for one of the biggest event of all times which is the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The campaigns by all the big parties have intensified and the battle ground is set.  Among all the states, one state has emerged as an interesting battle ground with BJP slowly and steadily penetrating into the state and trying to secure its position.

 Bengal is dominated by the Trinamool Congress led by CM Mamata Banerjee for quite some time now. The opposition parties like the Left and Congress could not do much over the years to shake the foundation of the TMC. So with such weak oppositions the TMC flourished and has maintained solid grounds. However the entry of BJP in the state has made the TMC a bit wary and they have felt threatened by the ruling party’s intensive campaigns.  The Congress in Bengal has over 40 seats ij the assembly while CPI(M) has around 25 seats. The maximum number of seats is held by the TMC and the party foresees it being this way for a long time. Few days back the Left and the Congress decided that they would fight the polls together but things did not materialize between them.   This can be a great advantage for the Shah-Modi duo to gain momentum in the state.


 On a larger spectrum, Mamata Banerjee had earlier announced a mahagatbandhan where she managed to rope in the opposition party leaders who together pledged to stand united and challenge the ruling party.  However the strategy has not made much difference to the BJP and they have been campaigning with full vigour in the state drawing scores of people. There seems to be an underlying message behind so many people showing up for the rallies held by the BJP. The message is that the saffron party has  not only made inroads in the state but has also managed to garner support of not just the traders community but also the middle class community is slowly inkling towards the ideologies of the BJP. The reason behind this is the failure of the Banerjee government to satisfy the requirements of the middle class community and also the opposition parties in the state like the Congress and the Left are so divided that people could not restore faith in them. So it became easy for the BJP to make an impact and garner support.

 It is also evident that Banerjee is well aware that tyhe BJP is the only threat to her government in the state of Bengal than the Congress or the Left.  The BJP got motivated after their vote share rose from 6.2 percent in 2009 to 16.8 percent in 2014.This is when the ruling party knew that Bengal would be welcoming them with open arms despite of the dominance of Mamata Banerjee. Now the scenario has become such that the position of the opposition parties in the state has led to just two main players who are battling it out.

The stereotype of the BJP being a Hindi heartland unit also broke after it emerged victorious in the North East especially after ousting the Communist party of India who ruled Tripura for 25 years.The Mamata Banerjee led government’s worry began after the vote share pf BJP jumped up in a by-election where it secured second position, pushing the Left and Congress combine to the third place.

The deal of the CPI (M) congress seat sharing had failed in 2016 assembly elections thereby making the TMC come back to power . However it stopped the entry of BJp in the state to some extent. But the alliance did not work and the Congress and the Left separated as the central committee of the CPI (M) vetoed it. Ever since the BJP has taken over the opposition space in the state and even now the opposition is as divided as ever paving way for the BJP to surface as a strong opposition against the TMC.

The BJP camp is happy about the development as it is in a better position now with a decent portion of the refugee voters in favour of the party in the border districts who for the past several decades had been a vote bank for the Left party. Also a large section of the Hindu voters who are unhappy with the appeasement politics of the TMC will support the BJP.  




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