As with every big and small election, BJP has thrust all its govt machinery in winning West Bengal assembly elections. The countless swayamsevaks have come on the ground for some months to prepare a vote bank for BJP by all means possible. It may look like WB Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress head Mamta Bannerjee is giving a tough fight but the way her party Members of Parliament and leaders are jumping ship, it seems that BJP has decided to win over her fort in WB. Ideally Congress and left parties should have decided to join Mamta in this fight but by not doing so they have paved the way for BJP victory.
There is simmering public anger against the Modi govt’s despotic attitude along with the farmers’ movement. But West Bengal opposition doesn’t seem to be taking any advantage of it. The fractured and disconnected opposition through tweeting and through press releases cannot fight BJP. At a time when these parties should be on the ground and fighting for people´s issues, these leaders are dreaming of winning the battle through social media.
Amit Shah has changed the entire election process. Shah has managed to remove the social and economic issues from the elections and converted it into a game of chess. Now despite the fact that there is huge public anger against BJP, it is winning or comes to power even after losing it is buying the MLAs from the opposite parties. There have been many examples of this in the last few years.
That is why we see that the migrant workers’ issue did not affect the Bihar elections. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been trying to make the sinking economy an election issue but it doesn’t seem to be having any effect on the election results. The rising petrol and diesel prices also don’t seem to worry Modi govt while such issues would bring down govts earlier.
Modi-Shah has developed independent machinery for winning elections. They have devised several ways for it. They use Big Data that involves the use of micro information of homes and families and use of an unprecedented amount of money power so that the ruling party MLAs can be bought. BJP also gets election results in its favour by sponsoring dummy candidates of the opposition party.
That is why people who think that with farmer’s movement an atmosphere can be made against BJP and BJP will be affected electorally should end their misconceptions. The opposition definitely lacks the resources and organisational ability of BJP.
The farmers’ movement is not an election issue in West Bengal. They are still busy arguing about the legacy of Subhash Chandra Bose and Rabindranath Tagore. Mamta Banerjee in her campaigns is not telling the people of Bengal how BJP is harming farmers.
West Bengal is an agricultural state and it is interesting how Mamta Banerjee the CM of such a state has not attacked the anti-farmer image of PM Modi. It seems that since Modi has become PM there is no national issue. The way Modi-Shah combine has done its propaganda through Godi media and created a web of regional issues it looks like people’s attention towards the national issue is less.
There is a direct fight is between the ruling TMC and BJP. BJP is doing aggressive campaigning for the last 1.5 years against Mamta Bannerjee. After winning elections in Bihar BJP has put all its resources in West Bengal. Several TMC leaders joining BJP is also in BJP’s favor. TMC senior leader Dinesh Trivedi even announced in Parliament about leaving the party.
BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’ model has also succeeded in getting several other party leaders into its fold. For eg. In Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh where even after losing elections, it snatched power from Congress.
But in Bengal even before BJP’s operation lotus, TMC can be seen on backfoot. BJP has succeeded in converting the Jai Shri Ram as a war cry, and TMC has shown a strong reaction to it. It appears there will a battle between Lord Ram and Goddess Durga in WB.
PM Modi, Home minister Amit Shah, BJP national president, and many other senior party leaders through their many trips have managed to build pressure on TMC.
According to ground reports from WB, there are signals of a very tough battle between the ruling TMC and BJP in which Congress and the Left are in third place.
The presence of Congress and the Left will make the fight for TMC even tougher and the irony is it will help break the secular vote in WB.
The article was first published on janjwar.com. It was translated into English by Swati Shukla.