After the year of the Covid-19 pandemic, 2021 has brought forth some of the fiercest state elections in India with West Bengal at top of the political drama.
In West Bengal, it seems that the BJP is emerging as a tough competition for Mamata
Banerjee (Didi) and her 10-year rule in the state. The strong presence of the Trinamool Congress and now the increasing presence of the BJP seems to have marginalised the Left, which had ruled West Bengal for over 30 years.
However, the emergence of ISF or Owaisi’s AIMIM may just increase the difficulties for TMC.
This year it seems the country will be witness to an over-heated summer with huge political drama. It will be interesting to see whether Mamata Banerjee will be able to stop the ‘Juggernaut of Delhi’, with PM Modi, Amit Shah and entire cabinet along with their CMs and prominent leaders campaigning in the state.
If BJP wins West Bengal
If the BJP wins in West Bengal, this will be the biggest victory for the party by conquering the untouched fort of the state for the first time in India, but it will also have national impact.
This will clearly give the message to all the opposition parties that they are unbeatable. This may also lead to the toppling of other state governments that are currently ruled by the opposition parties. The so-called “Operation Lotus” will be active in all these states.
States like Maharashtra, which is currently ruled by a coalition of the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress and Rajasthan, which is ruled by the Congress, could face the heat.
This will also weaken the federal structure of the country in a way.
At the same time, the bargaining capacity of BJP’s allies, such as Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) in Bihar or AIADMK in Tamil Nadu will be reduced. The central government that seems to be on the back foot on the farmers’ agitation, will take the forefront and will also be successful in portraying that the issue is limited to Punjab, Haryana and western UP. As a result, they could curb protests and also defame leaders.
Furthermore, the party’s most vocal critic since 2014, Mamata Banerjee will not have the same strong sword to protest against them.
If TMC wins a third term
If TMC comes back with the BJP as the main opposition party, it will be a win-win situation for both.
The Left is the biggest enemy of both the Trinamool Congress and BJP, and the Congress aligning with them makes it also an enemy of the TMC.
The BJP has always had a dream of a Congress-mukt Bharat and they may inch closer to it by nullifying their presence in one more state in the country. This will also certify that the welfare schemes started by Didi are proving useful for a large proportion of the population in the state.
Despite all the efforts by the BJP, Left and Congress, Didi has a loyal vote bank and there is not much anti-incumbency against her.
Furthermore, if TMC wins, this will also affect the implementation of CAA and NRC in the state and also nationally.
There could also further efforts to form a coalition against the BJP and Mamata Banerjee could be a prominent face of this coalition. This will make her second to Sharad Pawar, to stop the juggernaut of Delhi in their respective states and could also elevate her in national politics. She will attack the central government more fiercely over several issues again.
So, West Bengal election results may not only be crucial for all the major parties, but will also become equally important for the next general elections.
At the same time, it will be a litmus test for all the parties and will determine their
upcoming moves in national politics.
Aditya Rajendra Padhye is a student of Datta Meghe College of Engineering, Mumbai University.