West Bengal Election 2021 Ground Opinion Polls & Next CM?
Legislative Assembly elections for 294 seats of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly are scheduled to be held between 27 March to 29 April 2021 in 8 phases. This time the election holds very crucial significance for 2 main political parties which are TMC (TRINAMUL CONGRESS) & BJP (BHARATIYA JANTA PARTY).
For decades, as a state, Bengal has always got a limited amount of attention from the central government & fall behind when it comes to economic development & aids. But this time Bengal holds immense significance for BJP, the ruling party of central govt. For BJP winning Bengal is about an immediate political gain at a time when the party is hitting rock bottom in core states because of various protests against BJP led government’s polemic acts & bills. For instance- anti CAA protests, youth distress over massive unemployment, Bank strikes against privatization, protest against farm bills & price hike of essential commodities along with petrol, diesel & LPG cylinders. Which has received intense backlash from farmers, youths, laborers, minorities, govt employees, middle class & lower middle class. In a situation like this winning Bengal in the 2021 elections will be considered a major boost for the saffron party. Thus the party has engaged nearly all national heavy-weight leaders including home minister Amit Shah & prime minister Narendra Modi to the election campaign in Bengal. The party is spending a massive amount of funds to boost online & offline campaigns in Bengal. To win the Bengal election BJP is ready to adopt any means like luring TMC MLA’s to join BJP. Also, the saffron party has realized TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee’s soft spot is her nephew Abhishek Banerjee, the sitting MP from Diamond Harbour. BJP has made Abhishek one of the main targets of its campaign. A CBI team on Feb 23, visited Mr. Banerjee’s residence and examined his wife over a multi-crore coal scam. During the election campaign, the party’s main focus is on Bengal’s development which they are addressing as “Asolo Poriborton”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacked WB Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during a brigade rally on 7th March. He said Mamata has let down the state by breaking the trust of people. According to BJP Bengal lacks law & order and democracy is in grave danger. Along with these accusations, there are allegations of corruption but this issue has failed to emerge as the main accused of corrupted deeds like Saradha chit fund scam Mukul Roy (former deputy chief of TMC) is presently BJP’s national vice-president. On the other hand, former TMC candidate and Bengal’s transport minister Subhendu Adhikari, accused of the Narada cash scandal joined hands with BJP & now contesting from Nandigram against TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee. Another turncoat of TMC Sovan Chatterjee, former mayor of Kolkata recently quit BJP after denied a ticket to contest the Bengal assembly. BJP’s core strategy is to attract Hindu voters of Bengal over religious sentiments as the party trying to portray Mamata Banerjee as a patron of the Muslim minority rather than the Hindu community.
On the other hand, TMC leader and Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee mostly emphasized the facilitation of various kinds of subsidies toward all sections of society. Schemes like Kanyashree, Saboojsathi, Yuvasree, Swasthya sathi, khadyashree are renowned projects of the TMC gov’t. TMC gov’t always tried to focus on the grass-root level of society, the economically backward class by providing them various schemes. But it is also true that during its 10-year rule the gov’t lacked to create any long-term employment or boost formal sectors. The gov’t also failed to attract big industries in Bengal which could create employment and improve the state’s economy. And there are reports on massive corruption over teacher recruitment. The qualified candidates are still protesting against the unfair recruitment and filed complaints against WBBPE’s (West Bengal Board Of Primary Education) dishonest service. There are various reports on corruption over mid-day-meal and aids sanctioned by state gov’t to the poorer section of society. So this has created an uproar against the TMC gov’t in Bengal. Apart from that to appease the minority Mamata gov’t gave a small subsidy to the Imams which consolidated Hindu votes towards BJP as the saffron party’s Hindu voters shot up from 21% to 57% in 2019, pointing to deep polarization based on religion. Realizing her mistake Mamata introduced an honorarium for the Hindu priests recently in September 2020. For the 2021 elections, the party has participated in various kinds of activities like- “Didi ke bolo” “Duare sorkar” on the advice of Prashant Kishor, founder of I-PAC. These activities got enormous attention from the public.
When we look at the Bengal election 2021 the main point of focus is insider vs outsider. So this time the TMC party’s strategy of the election campaign is to portray Mamata Banerjee as the daughter of Bengal and they have also launched the slogan “Bangla nijer meyekei chaye” (Bengal wants its own daughter).
Article By : Parna ( Political Analyst )