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Rise of BJP in Bengal

How TMC helped BJP paint Bengal Saffron

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) brought the Left Front government’s 34 years of uninterrupted rule to a dramatic end; a road journey through West Bengal makes it evident that there is a new rising star here, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In most constituencies, it is a direct fight between the TMC and the BJP, while in a handful, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or the Congress is still in contention.

So what made the BJP so popular in West Bengal?

No substantial Unoyan with shift in Power

After 34 years of Left rule and very slow growth the people of West Bengal looked towards "Banglar Didi", Mamata Banerjee and her promising political party TMC to take Bengal to its next era which the people believed the state was surely capable. It has been 10 years since TMC came into power but no notable development has been achieved. Lack of industry during TMC rule directly affected the employment rate in this ever growing world. No proper action is being taken in this slow-growing State GDP.

The thing that TMC takes pride in accomplishing is the development of roads and construction of new bridges and flyovers, but as we all know, it is far from the truth. The Vivekananda Bridge (Girish Park) was doomed by financial scandal from the beginning and its collapse resulted in the death of 27 people with over 80 injured. The Majerhat Bridge, which was a very crucial bridge that connected Behala and other southern suburbs collapsed due to poor maintenance and claimed the life of 3 people. Multiple instances like these slowly lifted the faith of the people of Bengal from TMC and BJP didn’t waste a moment to capitalize on the opportunity.

Chain of scandals feat. TMC

The chain of national news worthy scandals which took place during the TMC reign really took a toll on their image.

Saradha Group financial Scam, Rose Valley Scandal, Narada Sting operation, Cut-money scandal, you name it and you will find multiple TMC leader names coming up in the investigation. Multiple witnesses all of a sudden denying all claims, investigations led by West Bengal police going nowhere, honest officers being transferred when they come too close to the hornets’ nest, refusing to cooperate with CBI investigations all these things bring doubt and anger in people's minds.

Who can forget the infamous closure of Hind Motor and building a 10000 crore IT park where many TMC leaders hold massive stakes.

Sharp rise in communal tension

West Bengal was mostly a peaceful and secular state post-Independence, even during CPM rule they didn’t have to resort to religious favoritism for votes. All of this changed when Mamata Banerjee came to power. Mamata Banerjee openly started to endorse the Islam community in West Bengal and also support Muslim Extremist political party ISF.

These favoritism varies like :

●Muslim clerics get more salary(2500/month) compared to Hindu priests(1000/month)

●Banning Maa Durga visharjan in the Ganga River to avoid clash with Muharram (She believes Hindus and Muslims can’t celebrate on the same given day)

●Providing 2.6 crore funding to build the Furfura Sharif Shrine while not funding any other substantial places of worship for other religious groups.

●The infamous Dhulagarh riots which took place in 2016 was a devastating incident of communal tensions at its peak. Homes of Hindu residents were looted and broken down and a very lethargic police resistance was seen as resistance to the Muslim mob riot. Little to no coverage was done by big Bengal media houses and as of writing this article in March of 2021, justice is yet to be served to the poor people who lost their home.

I still remember when Muslim-Hindu brothers and sisters used to wonder how communal riots take place and why can’t people of different religious groups live in harmony? Now, we know. Hindus in West Bengal had enough of this favoritism and they turned to BJP to provide justice and bring back respect to the community.

Established TMC leaders joining BJP

For a few years now there has been a power struggle and internal turmoil in TMC. Didi being the be-all and end-all in the party didn’t sit well with some of the long-time party workers and founders of the party. Every idea and scheme needed to be approved by the Honorable CM, and her tantrums didn’t suit the big egos of some TMC leaders and they decided to part ways with TMC and what better party to join than the ruling Indian party BJP. One of the TMC founding members, Mukul Roy, to former Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee and many more joined the Saffron side of the political spectrum. The biggest shocker and game changer was when the West Bengal Transport Minister Suvendu Adhikari joined the BJP. Coming from a family of politicians and with huge influence and following, he massively profited BJP and single-handedly increased the predicted polls for BJP.

What does the future hold for the both parties?

BJP has always been a weak side in West Bengal, from weak leaders to agenda mismatch, nothing went BJP’s way. If 2019 Lok Sabha has taught us anything, it’s to never write off a political party. BJP went from winning 2 seats out of 42 in West Bengal to 18 out of 42 which is just 4 seats short of TMC(22).

Many Left supporters, brought up on years of bloody battles with the TMC and encouraged by their leaders who are still targeting Chief Minister Banerjee rather than the BJP, are openly saying that in this election they will vote for the BJP to rid the State of the TMC. Belatedly, some CPI(M) senior leaders have realised the ideological short-sightedness of a campaign that has described the TMC and the BJP as two sides of the same coin. Former Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, who lost last year’s Assembly election to the BJP, said recently: “To gain freedom from the TMC, don’t make the mistake of choosing the BJP. It will be a blunder.” Former West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya told the CPI(M) mouthpiece Ganasakti, “There is no use in leaping from a TMC frying pan into the BJP’s fire. In some places, the danger is already present. Our task is to bring back the people from this self-destruction.”

While the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Opposition CPI(M) blame each other for the pathetic situation of industries in West Bengal, BJP gave hope to the people of West Bengal to bring new industries and as a party BJP is a strong believer in capitalism. So the failure of the CPI(M) and the TMC to bring new industries in West Bengal paved the path for the BJP to enter in the state.

Now as the West Bengal Assembly polls are drawing closer Ms. Banerjee, fighting possibly the toughest battle of her political career, remains popular in rural Bengal, where people continue to make a distinction between her and her workers. Many of her welfare schemes have worked, and the people are grateful. Muslims stand rock solid behind her. But the danger to her rule from the BJP is real and the Honorable CM realizes it and continues to fight hard.

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