The very recent election mandate in West Bengal has highlighted the growing dominance of BJP over the ruling TMC. Both Indian National Congress and CPM are on the verge of becoming mere signboards in the state which is indeed looking for a political change and hoping for a new party at the helm in the state. BJP has won 18 lok sabha seats in the state and at present, an early Assembly Election in the state looks a reality. In this regard, the insecure TMC Supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee looks adamant to get political mileage and divert attention from saffron surge in Bengal. Her very recent attempt to accuse BJP and create a Bengali and Non-Bengali divide has already created furore in the state.
Prior to the recently concluded Lok Sabha Election, West Bengal Mamata Banerjee expressed her strong displeasure over 'Jai Shree Ram' chants. As Narendra Modi has been elected for yet another term at Delhi, Mamata Banerjee doesn't have too many excuses up her sleeve. The way her party is witnessing the mass exodus of party members to BJP, the party is facing an existential crisis. The Bengal vs Non-Bengali divide issue has been pushed forward by the TMC in the media with a definite purpose. All along, BJP has always enjoyed the support of the Bengali Marwari class, undoubtedly the stalwarts of the business segment. In other words, the Non-Bengali Hindus in the state are traditionally inclined to the BJP. One doesn't need to understand rocket science why Mamata Banerjee has opted such a divisive approach in the alienating the non-Bengali Hindus.
The continuous decay of the communists in West Bengal has resulted in a one-sided vote shift in favour of the BJP in the state. In fact, CPM, which ruled the state even 8 years back, has now been minimised to a simple symbol in the state. CPM and its allies have even failed to win a single seat in West Bengal this time around, even with a hush-hush alliance with the Congress. On the other hand, BJP has won nearly half of the seats out of 42 in West Bengal.
Going beyond it can be said that the Bengali Bhadralok class is accepting BJP as a force against the party which beliefs in wooing the Muslim minorities in the state. West Bengal is no more isolated from national politics and the local narrative of Leftist ideologies is slowly getting replaced and post-ideological Bengal sees BJP as a strong powerhouse which isn't a political untouchable anymore.
With the Bengal vs Non-Bengali divide issues, Mamata Banerjee's TMC wants to get back the Bengali votes which have shifted from the communists to the BJP. The irony is, the same TMC invites the Non-Bengali business class in business summits for investments in the state, year after year. This opportunistic stance of TMC and Mamata Banerjee shows their desperation. In such a scenario, TMC now risks of losing Muslim votes as well due to this dubious stance of political vendetta.
It isn’t that TMC doesn’t have any other option right now. The results of Lok Sabha Election 2019 has showed that Indian voters are more mature than ever before. The much discussed caste equation didn’t work out in states like UP, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and others. People in Bengal are tired of oppressive political environment. The state government employees feel the most neglected as reports for implementing 6th Pay Commission are being delayed over and over again.
A section of Muslims even believe that Muslim appeasement has been more of a campaign by the ruling party and true development hasn’t happened for the Muslims living in West Bengal. Whether it is corruption, hooliganism, lack of growth and joblessness - the state is truly expecting a change in regime in true sense of the term.
There is no denying the fact that Bengali Muslims are a minority in the state. Barring the bordering districts of West Bengal where the state shares an international boundary with neighbouring Bangladesh, Urdu speaking Non-Bengali Muslims form a dominant majority in the state. TMC has not made it clear whether they are referring to Muslims as well in the Non-Bengali bracket. The writing on the wall is very clear - even if TMC members manage to send a thousand postcards to PM Narendra Modi with 'Jai Hind', 'Joy Bangla', BJP coming to power in Bengal riding on popular support looks imminent.
During the election campaign, there were consistent efforts from TMC leaders to frighten the Hindu Bengalis who have come from Bangladesh decades earlier. But their faith for the saffron outfit is crystal clear. A feeble attempt to create Bengali and Non-Bengali divide will not change the future political discourse of West Bengal.
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