Bengal Elections

IN the ongoing elections in four states and one union territory in India, the BJP is pulling out all stops to win. More so, in West Bengal where the saffron party’s vaunted electoral machine is busy in an aggressive campaign  to replace Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress Party. On Tuesday, the home minister Amit Shah held three roadshows in the state, one in the volatile Nandigram. Shah,  is already confident that BJP will win over 200 seats in  Bengal. Nandigram constituency is important as Banerjee is contesting from here and is up against her former protege, now a BJP leader, Suvendu Adhikari. Banerjee also held a roadshow in the constituency on Tuesday. It is as yet unclear which way the wind will blow. Despite being one of the cradles of the hardline nationalist politics, the BJP and its earlier avatar Jan Sangh have struggled to find a foothold in the state. But this time the BJP is putting everything in the fight and it is now in the reckoning as a strong contender for power. And should the BJP pull it off, it will be victory with a profound resonance for the country. It will be first time after independence that will have fallen to the lure of the politics on the right. Bengal has so far been a bastion of Left-Liberal politics in the country. So, a win in the state would be one of the greatest triumphs of the Hindutva ideology. And this is why also the BJP wants it so bad.

But Banerjee remains a redoubtable leader who is so far blocking  the BJP juggernaut. She has already been elected to office twice and it could very well be her third term. It is a tough contest between Banerjee’s popularity and that of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And both are very popular in the state. The ongoing  campaign in the state will go down as one of the most acrimonious and vindictive in the history.

As for the campaigning in other three states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam, the BJP doesn’t stand much of a chance in two Southern states. In Assam it is the ruling party and might be facing anti-incumbency factor. In any case, the outcome of the five elections will have a significant bearing on the politics of the country. More importantly, the win in Bengal for either party would be expected to make a massive difference to their political fortunes going forward. A Banerjee back in Bengal would certainly halt the BJP in its tracks, momentarily though.

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