Even as the country battles hard to fight the coronavirus, the political fight still continues unabated. And this face-off is quite apparent in West Bengal, where the ruling Trinamool Congress is engaged in bitter slugfest with the BJP. Both the parties have left no incident gone unnoticed to trade guns at each other.
Coronovirus is no exception, TMC’s Rajya Sabha MP, Derek O’Brien in his tweet summed up the face-off when he wrote, Bengal is fighting #coronavirus but the Central government is busy fighting Bengal.
The latest stand-off between the two parties arose when Railways Minister Piyush Goyal accused some states – Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh, Rajasthan including West Bengal of denying permission to trains carrying migrants. A charge that has been strongly rebuffed by all the said states thus sparking off war of words.
The unending BJP – TMC political exchanges on host of issues in recent times is not likely to end soon. As both parties have their eyes set for the 2021 West Assembly polls . It will be intense battle given the fierce opposition to each other’s policies. Mamata will be hoping to achieve a hat-trick while BJP, a dream to form a government in the state for the first time.
But the third term return for Mamata will not be a cake walk as the BJP has made it’s mission Bengal very clear. The 2019 Lok Sabha polls results in West Bengal is clear enough why the BJP rise has Mamata worried. Out of 42 Lok Sabha seats, BJP won 18 and TMC 22. It was agonisingly close to the target set by then BJP president Amit Shah of winning 23 seats. The TMC before the polls had shrugged off the BJP challenge and said the saffron party would not reach double figures and the talk of close fight has been created by the BJP tilted media.
2019 Lok Sabha polls have shown that BJP has made serious in-roads in West Bengal. The BJP vote share was a stunning 40.25% a change from 22.5%, whereas the ruling Trinamool vote share was 43. 28 % and change of only 3.48 %. These stats has no doubt rattled TMC and Mamata Banerjee . And though there is the bravado among the TMC that BJP is no threat there are palpable signs of nervousness with the BJP breathing down it’s neck.
As the West Bengal polls is now clearly a two way race – TMC vs BJP. The other parties the Congress and the Left seem to no where in the race. The Left after 2011 rout has no leader , while Congress is in tatters with no leadership to inspire. Thereby paving the way for BJP to be the challenger to TMC.
Mamata will in- fact relish this challenge, the years of taking on the left and overthrowing them in 2011 was no mean effort. This challenge from the BJP though will be big test. But Mamata could well perhaps take leaf out of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s book how he warded of the aggressive BJP challenge in the Delhi Assembly polls.
Kejriwal and AAP right through the election campaign stuck to issues that concerned Delhi. They did not fall in the trap of the BJP to speak on contentious issues, like NRC, CAA, Article 370, Ram Mandir, Pakistan. And Kejriwal also refrained from making any personal attacks on BJP leaders. BJP on the other hand hit out at Kejriwal with Union Minister Prakash Javadekar reportedly saying Kejriwal was a anarchist and there was no difference between a anarchist and a terrorist. The personal attack on Kejriwal backfired for the BJP. Just like it’s ED notice blunder to NCP supremo and Maratha stalwart Sharad Pawar ahead of the Maharashtra assembly polls.
Do not forget BJP gave it all in Delhi , Union Home Minister Amit Shah spearheaded the campaign with 45 rallies. Over 200 plus MP’s and Chief Minister’s of BJP states , Union Cabinet ministers joined the BJP blitz to woo the people of Delhi but all was in vain.
So, Mamata can expect similar sort of BJP blitzkrieg during the West Bengal polls in 2021. And if she sticks to her core issues , there is every chance of her pulling off a hat-trick. There are reports that Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself would lead the BJP charge. Which means a high octane campaign on the cards.
Mamata recently tweeted about the nine years of her government on May 12 where she wrote, On this day in 2011, Maa, Mati, Manush of #Bangla reposed their faith in Trinamool. After 34 years, people ushered in #Poriborton. We are committed to the welfare of all and will continue to serve the people of #9YearsOfPoriborton .
She remains confident but a determined BJP is close on her heels . For the two parties the BJP and TMC it will be surely Korbo (will Do) Lorbo (will fight) and Jeetbo (will win). So can Mamata do a Kejriwal or will the BJP pull off a big upset and give a perfect respect to their founder – Syama Prasad Mukherjee by winning the much anticipated and eagerly awaited battle? These two attributes alone will make this electoral battle really intriguing .