After Mamata Banerjee’s massive loss in the Lok Sabha elections, in which she was reduced to 22 seats from her previous 42 in the state of West Bengal, the upcoming state elections have got her all riled up. The TMC leader has realised that her reign of terror is only going to push the people towards BJP which has now emerged as the main opposition and only alternative to Mamata’s tyrant rule. So now, in order to counter BJP’s growing popularity in the state, Mamata Banerjee has sought the services of supposed ‘electoral wizard’ Prashant Kishor. Prashant Kishor has also confirmed to Firstpost that he will be working for Mamata Banerjee for the 2021 Assembly elections.
With Prashant Kishor’s ‘Project Mamata’ in full swing, over the past few months several instances surely reek of covert efforts to revive Mamata’s image which has deteriorated to that of a volatile political leader. Essentially, Prashant Kishor is working round the clock to make Mamata more palatable to the electorate amidst the rise of BJP and reawakening of Hindu conscience in Bengal.
Rattled by the major electoral roadblock, Mamata Banerjee seems to have gone into survival mode trying to erode off her radical image that has been formed over the past few years after her overarching efforts of minority appeasements even at the cost of compromising with safety and rights of other groups.
Earlier the West Bengal Chief minister also attended a Rath Yatra event organized by International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, attended the Rath Yatra event along with Bengali actor-turned TMC Member of Parliament (MP) Nusrat Jahan, who inaugurated the Rath Yatra. Nusrat Jahan was also seen offering Pooja along with her husband Nikhil Jain.
Nonetheless the Mamata Banerjee centric efforts to revive the political support for the TMC surely miss out the fundamental issues and challenges in the politics of West Bengal. While the 2014 general elections witnessed a huge Narendra Modi wave driving the electoral narrative, For West Bengal CM to do the same in the state is not only highly unlikely but also ignorant of fundamental constraints. For one, PM Narendra Modi was the alternative in face of a mounting political crisis in the nation. Mamata Banerjee on the other hand, is the embodiment of that very political crisis; she is not the alternative but rather is one on the defensive against several alternatives. Recent factionalism and senior TMC leaders jumping ships to other parties is a clear indication of the impact of Mamata centric electoral policy of the TMC and its associate Prashant Kishor.
Didi ke Bolo (Tell Didi) another campaign being run by TMC in West Bengal which encourages people to share their grievances and complaints with the chief minister, is certainly aimed at projecting a more, if not kinder and gentler, certainly compassionate West Bengal CM. TMC’s largely, disorganized and indisciplined cadre is also poised to thwart Prashant Kishor’s efforts to benefit from making this a personality centric electoral battle, as the main opposition to the TMC in the state the BJP certainly has a more organized and effective cadre to get the message across. Also compared to the image of PM Narendra Modi, Mamata Banerjee surely has a lot of ground to cover.
Moreover the main issues in the Mamata Banerjee centric approach is sure to keep weakening the party as it approaches state assembly elections in 2021. This radical shift in dynamics of the TMC is surely an indication of efforts towards an image makeover of TMC chief Mamata Banerjee however these overnight changes in TMC and especially Mamata Banerjee become hard to realise on ground due to the kind of rigidity Mamata Banerjee is famous for.
For the overly Mamata-centric approach Kishor has adopted, the organisational strength, conviction of ideology is lacking in TMC and this leader-centric approach will further lead to the weakening of the party.