Monday, 4 July, 2022
HomeOpinion2019 results bring Mamata’s fear to life: how to save Bengal assembly...

2019 results bring Mamata’s fear to life: how to save Bengal assembly from BJP in 2021

BJP has won nearly half of 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal, days after Modi and Amit Shah had warned Mamata’s power centre was under threat.

Text Size:

East is turning green and orange with the BJP flags now, and that is making Mamata Banerjee’s TMC turn white with fear. After its huge gains in West Bengal, winning almost half of the 42 Lok Sabha seats, the BJP has a real shot at the seat of power in the state. At the ground level, it means that Mamata Banerjee and her party would have to fight hard to defend against the series of onslaughts that would be launched by the BJP with renewed vigour.

Jayprakash Majumdar, BJP state vice-president, says, “Now, the BJP’s task is to see how soon this misrule could be ended here.” When pointed out that the assembly election in West Bengal is due in 2021, Majumdar retorted, “It is up to the TMC (leadership) to keep their party intact till that time. If their MLAs and other leaders decide to quit TMC and join us, then we would put no obstacle in their way.” Campaigning in Sreerampur in April last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had claimed that around 40 MLAs of the ruling party were secretly “in touch with me”. The TMC had called it an attempt at ‘horse-trading’.

Majumdar, though, claims that the BJP won’t engineer any plan to break the TMC. “Look, this (TMC) is not a Left party based on some ideology and principles. This party is devoid of any ideology. (Hunger for) power is the only factor that kept them united so far. If they leave their party and come to us, then that would again be about having access to power,” he says. The BJP leader, however, admits that in case any fissure develops in the TMC, “we won’t mind giving a push to it.”

BJP president Amit Shah, too, had raised doubts over whether the TMC government in Bengal can survive its tenure, and said that it was “impossible” that Mamata Banerjee would remain in power after the Lok Sabha elections.

Whether TMC MLAs can resist the temptation to change their party colour overnight is something that would become clear in the coming days. For now though, the party’s leadership is worried.

Also read: Everyone knows not to take on Mamata Banerjee, like Modi & Amit Shah did, on her home turf

On Thursday, after the results were declared, no TMC leader issued any statement on the party’s 22 winning Lok Sabha candidates, barring a brief message from their chief Mamata Banerjee, who merely congratulated the winners. Even the customary post-election press conference was not held by the TMC.

A member of Mamata’s inner circle (who does not want to be identified) said that since the TMC’s present strength in the state comprise 213 MLAs (in the 294-member assembly), it would be an uphill task for the BJP to engineer defection and wean away two-thirds of the members. But the person admitted that the TMC might witness a reverse in its fortunes after it came to power in 2011. To begin with, a number of TMC-run municipalities and panchayats might go over to the BJP. Gradually, this person said, in a move orchestrated by the BJP, some TMC MLAs might rebel against the party leadership and cause confusion among the rank and file. On the government front, the IAS officers could slowly begin to shift their allegiance from the TMC to the BJP and turn Mamata Banerjee’s regime into a lame duck government, the person added.

Ranabir Samaddar, a political scientist with Calcutta Research Group (CRG), does not completely rule out the possibility of the Mamata Banerjee’s regime coming to a sudden end under one excuse or another. But says, this is a “remote possibility”. Samaddar does not believe that just because the BJP has managed to win around half of the seats in the Lok Sabha election, it automatically implies that the TMC government has lost its legitimacy to rule in the state. If that was the case, then similar arguments could be made about the governments in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka — the states ruled by the Congress and its alliance partners.

At the same time, Samaddar says the Modi government might raise the issue of “law and order” if a suitable situation presents itself. However, that still runs the risk of facing a political and legal challenge from other opposition parties — as long as they present a united face. “(But) if it comes to that, then it would seriously damage the political stability in our country. Could the NDA government afford to invite that?” Samaddar asks.

Also read: Amit Shah has more than rattled Mamata Banerjee in Bengal

While the political situation will remain fluid in the coming days, a grave social crisis is brewing. The state’s Muslim community, which has supported the TMC whole-heartedly to stave off the BJP, is now worried. Ahmed Hasan Imran, a TMC MP in Rajya Sabha and editor of a Bengali daily ‘Puber Kalom’, says, “A sword is hanging over our head… the sword of NRC (National Register of Citizens)”.

After successfully pushing the exercise to update the citizenship status of people in Assam in order to identify “illegal Bangladeshis”, BJP chief Amit Shah has repeatedly asserted that his party would now want to implement the NRC in West Bengal as well as elsewhere in the country. The issues of NRC, citizenship and illegal migrants found important place in the BJP’s rhetoric in Bengal during the Lok Sabha election campaign. And so, the sense that there could be a ‘BJP rule’ in Bengal in the near future scares the community.

Sabir Ahmed, a researcher with Amartya Sen’s Pratichi Institute, lives in Kidderpore, in the southern fringe of Kolkata, where a large number of Muslims reside. According to him, people in his locality have begun searching for and collecting their identity papers that might be needed to prove their citizenship if and when the NRC process arrives in the state. The harassment and uncertainty that accompanied the exercise in Assam looms large in their minds.

Meanwhile, the BJP’s massive victory is being celebrated among its largely Hindu supporters in Bengal.

The author is a journalist and political analyst. Views are personal.

Also read: Mamata Banerjee becomes fake news target again as old post goes viral after BJP run-ins


Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism


  1. The author of this article is mad.He does not understand the power of democracy. Autocracy which has got control over the whole system including the election commission and the Supreme Court of India,may rule for sometime but not for so long. people can not be befooled via false lures. This is the policy of divide and rule and would soon collapse.People will soon have the real awakening against opportunistic forces and will teach them a lesson, May Indian Economy be saved by God!

  2. Mamta has not lost the ground. She committed tactical mistake by giving 42 % of 42 to women. A woman is a woman and it is not without reason that Shakespeare called her frailty is thy name. Had she limited the number of women candidates to 10 she would have won more than 30.

  3. Modi phenomenon is not enduring. It has limitations. The law of 75 is equally applicable to him.
    Modi is mainly a product of UPA and the family Congress.
    Therefore with the death of Congress Modi will be irrelevant and the country would be there as ever battered and bruised waiting for another hero.

  4. TMC did a grave mistake by thinking it could let Bangladeshi Muslims letting in West Bengal for shoring up their political fortunes. Modi & Shah are aggressive. The Sharda scam which is beginning to unravel might well be given a wholehearted push in a bid to topple Mamata as it appears Mamata Banerjee might herself be involved in it. The rude & violent behaviour by TMC goons & especially by her nephew Abhishek are also certainly not helping the cause. The days of Gandhi family rule & red revolution are gone. Now it’s the era of right-wing populism and considering BJP is Hindu which has a great % of populace than the Muslims who support the TMC, BJP must just end up coming to power in Bengal.

  5. In the midst of the Jai Shri Rams and chest-thumping, there is strong reason to pause before we progress even further into Har Har Modi etc. Besides the true sidelining of genuine economic and social issue by Hindutva, this election pushes Bengal, UP, Telengana and possibly much of the rest of India into a new ‘dangerous decade’ as between 1935 and 1945. As was predictable for any student of the Humanities, with a ruling government openly using an avalanche of fake news videos to spread hate and division, polarization is now very advanced as it was then between the muslim peasant Krishak Praja Dal and Congress Socialists on one side, and the Congress Right, Hindu Mahasabha and Muslim League on the other. In West Bengal, this will now mean an inflammable cocktail of identity politics centred around the subalterns (or ‘chotolok’ to be very crude) mirroring that of Bangladesh, with Bengali identity (TMC/Awami League) pitted versus Hindu/Muslim identity (BJP/BNP). To use various truisms that are almost cliches but are now so very pertinent, ‘those who cannot learn from history are condemned to repeat it’, ‘religion is the last refuge of the scoundrel’ and ‘in illiberal polities, the greatest scoundrel such as Stalin or Franco, always wins out’.Cry, cry India, for what is certain to befall us in the coming decade, even if we do not actually go to full illiberal democracy with the remaining institutional safeguards also being scuttled!

  6. /* …… where a large number of Muslims reside. According to him, people in his locality have begun searching for and collecting their identity papers that might be needed to prove their citizenship if and when the NRC process arrives in the state. */

    Speaks loud when juxtaposed with earlier-peddled narrative of secularism.
    Jai Sri Ram

Comments are closed.

Most Popular