‘The BJP will get the lion’s share of the Opposition vote. I might give the Congress-Left round 15 per cent.’
IMAGE: A Bharatiya Janata Party supporter seeks blessings from BJP chief Narendra Damodardas Modi at an election rally in Hooghly district, April 3, 2021. Photograph: Swapan Mahapatra/PTI Photo
The electoral destiny of 4 states and one Union territory will be introduced on Sunday, May 2.
It has been a bitterly fought election marketing campaign for West Bengal’s 294 meeting seats. At play have been polarisation, communal politics, poetry and prose, notion politics, outsider-insider rhetoric, and even an injured West Bengal chief minister — a riveting collage in contrast to every other Vidhan Sabha election.
And then, of course, the soul scarring second wave of the pandemic has lastly put paid to election rallies in the state.
Will the incumbent Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress rating a hat-trick?
Or, will Narendra Damodardas Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party make historical past in Bengal?
Udayan Bandopadhyay, columnist, writer, political scientist and an affiliate professor of political science at the Bangabasi College in Kolkata, in an interview with Swarupa Dutt/Rediff.com, forecasts the winners, the losers, the also-rans and demystifies the elements that make Bengal elections so distinctive.
The concluding phase of a two-part interview:
With the devastating second wave of the pandemic making it obvious that the Centre’s priorities had been the polls and never healthcare, will it have an effect on voter determination in the last few phases?
Issues have modified dramatically since the second wave grew to become obvious. Now, the main subject is healthcare and the authorities in energy (the TMC) will get mileage in the previous few phases as a result of it’s the state that’s fulfilling the folks’s calls for, not the Centre.
The persons are conscious that the Centre has failed them.
Demand for beds, oxygen and medicine is what is required now and it’s Mamata Banerjee’s authorities that’s stepping in, not the Centre.
Only one subject is left on this ‘recreation’ — healthcare — and the persons are seeing that Mamata is delivering — no less than for now.
So, hypothetically, if the second wave had hit India with a terrifying 3 lakh COVID-19 circumstances per day and over 25,000 COVID-19 deaths a day in early April, would the khela have been shesh for the BJP way back?
Has the Centre’s dealing with of the pandemic made house for different events at the Centre?
Has it germinated the concept that different events can run the nation higher than the BJP?
In Bengal? Absolutely! The BJP would have been routed indubitably had the second wave occurred earlier. But it will nonetheless be routed.
As far as nationwide politics is anxious, the Opposition at the Centre ought to have the ability to articulate the calls for of the populace. Can they step in and assist and do what the authorities at the Centre will not be doing?
Narendra Modi has failed, however so has Uddhav Thackeray (the Maharashtra chief minister).
Modi’s failure does not imply a defeat for the BJP at the normal election or meeting elections.
Policy failure will not topple the (Modi) authorities.
If you possibly can show to be a powerful Opposition by fielding a pacesetter of mettle, in the event you can articulate the folks’s wants, then you possibly can succeed.
As of now, the reply is, no. Modi will keep on.
But there is no such thing as a denying that Modi and the BJP are standard in Bengal in the event you go by the enormous crowds at the rallies or the highway reveals of Amit Shah and BJP President J P Nadda.
Would you say Modi is as standard as Indira Gandhi? Will these folks at the rallies vote for BJP?
Modi is a well-liked chief, there is no such thing as a denying that. He is standard throughout India. But the crowds at his rallies do not imply something.
There is at all times an anti-incumbency consider democracy, so when a celebration, say the BJP on this case, which is in energy at the Centre turns into the principal contender other than the TMC in West Bengal, there will be enormous crowds at the rallies.
But crowds do not imply the BJP will be come to energy in the state. The persons are gathering at Modi’s rallies as a result of they need to hear what the principal Opposition social gathering in West Bengal has to supply.
In reality, the Trinamool Congress will seize no less than 50 per cent of the votes, and the BJP will get the lion’s share of the Opposition vote. I might give the Congress-Left round 15 per cent.
The BJP’s vote comes primarily from former Left voters, disgruntled TMC voters, the Hindi-speaking inhabitants and long-time BJP voters in Bengal.
Indira Gandhi can’t be in contrast with Narendra Modi. She was much more standard in Bengal, particularly after the Bangladesh warfare.
Anti-incumbency is unlikely to have an effect on the TMC, and along with her populist welfare schemes, Mamata Banerjee, you’re feeling, is a shoo-in to win a 3rd time period. So what are the elements that will result in the BJP shedding in Bengal?
Mamata has finished nicely on her welfare schemes. But keep in mind, there’s at all times an anti-incumbency in democracy; there’s at all times anguish and anger in opposition to the authorities; there’s at all times the voice of the opposition in opposition to the authorities in any democratic arrange.
But the Opposition has to politically articulate that dissatisfaction and that’s the place I believe the BJP has failed.
Secondly, and extra importantly, the BJP doesn’t have an vital regional Bengali chief.
We have solely seen rallies, highway reveals of Modi, Amit Shah and J P Nadda. In reality the crowds that you simply converse of are restricted to Modi’s rallies and to a sure extent the house minister’s, however we have not seen such crowds in favour of any regional BJP chief in Bengal as a result of there merely are not any such leaders.
They have regional leaders in Assam, in Uttar Pradesh, in Bihar, however in West Bengal there’s no one to counter Mamata Banerjee’s mass enchantment.
For argument’s sake, in case you are saying the folks of Bengal like Modi, the level is, will he change into the chief minister of West Bengal? Will Amit Shah or J P Nadda change into CM if the BJP wins?
The BJP has singularly and remarkably failed in creating a powerful regional chief who can lead the social gathering in West Bengal.
There is a fear that the conventional values so pricey to the Bengali bhadralok will be forged apart by the BJP’s North Indian values.
Is this apprehension sufficient to counter the TMC’s disdain for democracy and the allegations of corruption in opposition to its native leaders?
Yes, there are expenses of corruption and extortion and the allegations are true.
But like I mentioned, the largest contributory issue for the BJP’s loss will be the lack of a regional chief. The TMC will win regardless of expenses of graft and extortion.
You have to have the ability to attain out to the widespread folks, develop a cadre that may match the TMC, make them politically privy to the BJP. The BJP has been in a position to do just some of this.
To channelise the folks’s anger in opposition to the authorities and make them vote in opposition to the incumbent, it’s important to first know the native language. If you converse in Hindi and English in Bengal, you merely can not aspire to win the populace and make them vote for you.
So then, Mamata’s oft-repeated argument throughout the marketing campaign of bohiragato (outsiders) tenting in the state is true?
To a sure extent, sure and no less than on this context, it’s true. Had they been capable of finding and nurture a Bengali-speaking regional chief, the bohiragato argument would not work.
Has the BJP reopened the scars of Partition by reaching out to the Matua neighborhood?
The Matuas have been attempting to change into Indian residents since Partition. There was one other inflow of Matuas after the creation of Bangladesh. So, sure, if you end up reaching out to the Matuas, Partition is the backdrop.
The BJP has promised that if the CAA (Citizenship [Amendment] Act) is carried out in Bengal, the Matuas will get unconditional citizenship. Matuas are being harassed after they apply for passports, and so on.
But in these elections they will not vote en masse for the BJP as they did in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as a result of they really feel cheated as the CAA is but to be carried out.
Still, the Matuas are a really minor faction of the Namasudra (Dalit) neighborhood. The Matua vote is 3.5 to 4 per cent of the total Namasdusra neighborhood so it isn’t vital in the larger image, although they’re a deciding consider 10 meeting constituencies.
What is vital is the Namasudra vote.
For the Namasudra neighborhood at giant, it’s the NRC (National Register of Citizens) that’s feared.
You can not win over the total Namasudra neighborhood by saying that if we (BJP) come to energy we will implement CAA.
These are completely juvenile politics.
How does the NRC have an effect on the Namasudra vote?
The concern of NRC amongst the Namasudra may be very giant. The Namasudra neighborhood in Bengal got here, in the event you have a look at it chronologically, from East Pakistan, then Bangladesh, after which in 2001 to 2004, when Khalida Zia was in energy in Bangladesh.
Namasudras are panicked by NRC.
If you comply with the chronology of the BJP, they’ve mentioned, first we will implement CAA, then NRC.
NRC is a harmful subject in West Bengal politics.
After 2019, in the three by-elections, the BJP’s defeat was on the subject of NRC. NRC will be an enormous contributory consider votes in opposition to the BJP on this election.
So how did the BJP make such massive inroads in the 2019 Lok Sabha election in Bengal?
The NRC was launched in Assam after the 2019 election. People didn’t know what impact it will have until they noticed what was occurring in Assam.
While on caste, would it not be true to say that 34 years of Left rule has left caste politics by the wayside and thereafter with Mamata’s concentrate on minorities, caste has not been a consideration whereas urgent the EVM button?
However, with the BJP, there was an increase of nascent Hindutva politics in the state?
What politics does the RSS do? The politics of the RSS is predicated on the unification of Hindus throughout India. Hindutvavadi politics says there is no such thing as a battle amongst Hindus.
The politics of the BJP and RSS is diminishing the Dalit identification.
But Namasudra or Dalit politics is predicated upon the politics and the teachings of Bhimrao Ambedkar which believes there’s a basic battle between higher castes and Dalits.
The battle lies in the roots of exploitation (of the Dalits) by higher caste Hindus.
In West Bengal, the BJP has not been in a position to create an setting whereby the Namasudra neighborhood will get benefits in phrases of Hindutvavadi politics.
Mamata Banerjee gave precedence to the minority neighborhood, however I disagree that she didn’t think about caste in phrases of illustration in politics.
She created a pacesetter like Anubrata Mandal, a Namasudra.
During the Left regime, you’d by no means discover a district secretary who was not a caste Hindu.
Mamata appointed Mandal as the district president of Birhbhum. He will not be a small fry. He is an enormous chief of the Trinamool Congress and regardless of some pitfalls (allegations of cattle smuggling, remarks of murdering opponents) he’s a consultant of the Namasudra neighborhood.
Mamata could also be a Brahmin, however the Trinamool Congress will not be seen as an anti-Dalit social gathering.
The BJP, on the different hand, is perceived as an anti-Dalit social gathering.