With the Assembly election approaching, political activities in West Bengal are getting momentum in the state. The election heat in Bengal can be gauged through the whirlwind rallies, meetings, and public gathering by different political parties. The ruling TMC supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Benerjee ousted the Left from power in 2011 with the help of her infallible strategy. She has completed 10 years in power, but this time the situation is not like what it was in 2011. Also it is not as favorable as it was in 2016 when fighting incumbency and the opposition alliance of the Left and the Congress, her Trinomial Congress had got a solid two-third majority having bagged a total of 211 seats .Though Mamata‘s Trinomial Congress (TMC) has also geared up to handle all kind of adversities, but the challenges for her are multi-prong this time around. TMC’s election bugle has been sounded all over Bengal.
Challenges ahead for Mamata
The BJP has emerged as the main challengers to the ruling TMC, winning 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 general elections with 16 per cent increase in its vote share. Now the BJP is leaving no stone unturned in its effort to form the next government in the state. As a part of their strategy BJP is also trying to get the desolated members of TMC into their fold. Many dissident TMC leaders and workers have joined BJP.
Veterans exodus from the ruling TMC
The number of dissidents in Mamata’s camp are on rise, and it has become a headache for TMC. Many senior faces of the party have abandoned the ship and joined hands with BJP, strengthening saffron party’s foothold in Bengal. The joining of Suvendu Adhikari in BJP is a major setback for Didi, as Mamata is called by one and all. Suvendu was the main brigade and known as the right hand man of Mamata .Not only Suvendu but many other TMC sitting MLAs like two-term MLA Silbhadra Dutta from Barrack pore constituency and Uttar Kanthi MLA Banasri Maity had also quit the party and joined BJP. So it is obvious that Mamata has to face a tough fight in this coming election. The eye of all political parties is focused in the seats of Midnapore and political activities have started from there. Midnapore is a part of the same South Bengal that holds the key to power. The voters of South Bengal will decide who will wear the crown. Therefore, be it the ruling TMC or the BJP, both are trying hard to create their strong hold in South Bengal. Also the exodus of several veterans from the TMC since 2019 Lok Sabha elections may impact the overall vote-share for Mamata Banerjee's party in the upcoming polls.
Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM)
Another new challenge has emerged in the form of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM). Chief Asaduddin Owaisi is trying a political bet. Recently he had visited Bengal and said “why do you forget that there are not only Muslims live here but there are Hindus, Brahmins, upper castes, other communities who live here and they also have their votes. We are saying that we will fight elections and will get everyone's vote”. West Bengal is the third largest Muslim Populated state after Jammu Kashmir and Assam. Muslim Population in West Bengal is 2.47 Crore (27.01 percent) of total 9.13 Crore. The election strategy of Asaduddin Owaisi is entirely around the Muslim vote bank. His success formula that worked in Simanchal region in Bihar can show its color in Bengal election too. And this will cost Mamata because he has a tremendous hold on the Muslim vote bank. If Owaisi will influence Mamata’s Muslim vote bank, then the votes will get divided and the BJP will definitely reap the benefit out of this.
Congress –Left alliance
The congress and Left have joined hands for the Assembly election .In 2016 Bengal Assembly both the parties went to the polls together and won 77 seats with 26.2% vote share. But the alliance did not work out during the 2019 Lok Sabha Poll. This time the Congress is also challenging Mamata. The Congress leaders are openly inviting the rebel members of the TMC to join their camp.
Bengal election is going to be very interesting this time leaving many question in common men’s mind.
Like, with BJP’s challenge to Mamata to win her major vote bank, how difficult battle it will be for her?
Will Mamata's fort be demolished by BJP's aggressive strategy?
The question is also whether the alliance of the Left -Congress will be an acid test for Mamata's politics?
Now the voters of Bengal will decide the fate of Mamata and her TMC.