Saturday, July 13, 2024

Modi's guarantee vs Mamata's guarantee in West Bengal

Sunil eyes

The political atmosphere has become heated in West Bengal, which has the third largest number of seats in the Lok Sabha. While the BJP has brought the issue of Modi's guarantee to the fore, the Trinamool Congress has made Mamata's guarantee a new buzzword to give it a boost. Gradually, there are indications that the political rivalry between BJP and Trinamool will become more extreme.

Although most of the Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal have three-way contests, the real battle is between the ruling Trinamool Congress led by Mamata Banerjee and the BJP. The Congress party has also entered the fray by sharing seats with the Left parties under the India Alliance. Mamata refused to join the India Alliance and fielded Trinamool Congress candidates on all the seats. The party organization of Congress is not as strong as it should be and the dominance of left parties is history. Therefore, Trinamool should not be afraid of these two parties.

Now on May 20, voting will be held in seven constituencies namely Bangaon, Bairakpur, Howrah, Uluberia, Srirampur, Hooghly and Arambagh. So far, the voting for eighteen seats has been completed in four phases. It is considered state sensitive. Therefore, voting is being conducted there in seven phases. Bharatiya Janata Party has set a target of winning 35 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats this time.

For this, BJP has brought the subject of Modi's guarantee to the center stage. To encourage it, Mamata Banerjee has emphasized on two major schemes implemented by her government namely Grilahakshmi and Lakshmi Bhandar. Free food grains are distributed to below poverty line families by Mamata government. It is also being strongly promoted by Trinamool.

Aggressive campaign of BJP

BJP has campaigned aggressively in West Bengal on scams like teacher recruitment, chit fund, food grain, animal smuggling, malpractices in coal mines. So Trinamool is in a dilemma. Trinamool Congress has to come on the backfoot as soon as corruption issues are raised by BJP. Even the Trinamool Congress has failed to realize that the BJP has made deep inroads into the state by leaving both the erstwhile Left parties and the Congress behind.

In the last Assembly, the BJP had forced the Trinamool to fight hard for victory. Even in the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won not a little, but as many as 18 seats with 40.6 percent votes. On the other hand, Trinamool won 22 seats. In 2014, Trinamool won 34 seats. Due to BJP's struggle, that party had to lose twelve seats. Due to that shock, this time Trinamool has also given up its resolve to win the maximum number of seats. Since Mamata has single-handedly ruled this state for the past thirteen years, defeating her is not as easy a task as it seems for the BJP. Mamta's popularity seems to be continuing even today. Modi's guarantee versus Mamta's guarantee has come into the current campaign. Looking at the voting in the first four phases, it is seen that there is a close contest in every constituency.

Trinamool's dilemma due to India alliance

Although the opposition India Alliance dominates, in West Bengal Mamata's refusal to compromise on seat-sharing with the Left and the Congress could hurt the Trinamool itself. The Left Party is contesting on 30 seats, while the Congress Party is contesting on 12 seats. Congress had taken the initiative to fight these elections together. However, Mamata did not incense it. Divided votes are inevitable due to three-way contests. It will be interesting to see whether it will benefit BJP or Trinamool. According to political observers, if Mamata had taken a more flexible stance, it would have benefited not only the Trinamool but also the other parties in the All India Alliance. No one can deny that the division of votes is an advantageous position for the BJP.

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