Mamata Banerjee, before being injured by an accident in Nandigram, was being projected by the TMC as ‘Sanatani Mamata’. This was perhaps a final attempt by I-PAC chief Prashant Kishor to stop the consolidation of Hindu votes in the BJP’s favour. As a matter of fact, while in Nandigram, where the TMC supremo filed her nomination and campaigned for two days, no less than 19 Hindu temples and one Muslim shrine were covered by Banerjee. Essentially, the ‘temple run’ of Mamata Banerjee began with quite a number of Hindu shrines being visited. However, the tour ended in a disaster not just for Banerjee, but also for the TMC and its consultancy firm.
Apart from visiting Shiv, Kali, Krishna and Durga temples across villages, Mamata also visited temples of local deities, worshipped by the villagers, which included Janaki Mata, Manasa Mata and Sitala Mata temples. Videos of the Chief Minister performing ‘aarti’ and offering pooja were live-streamed from Nandigram.
As a climax, Mamata Banerjee flashed her ‘Brahmin card’, saying, “I would like to tell him that I belong to a Brahmin family and he should not play the religion card with me. Don’t teach Hindu dharma to me.” She also took to reciting the Chandi Paath.
Ultimately, Mamata Banerjee’s seemingly religious tour of Nandigram ended with her sustaining injuries due to a mishap, which she then went on to claim was the doing of the BJP, with the TMC going as far as saying that it was an attempt on Mamata Banerjee’s life. Minus the accident, the entire Nandigram fiasco of Mamata Banerjee seems to be meticulously planned out by Prashant Kishor, who has quite a thing for last-minute temple-hopping and the sudden rekindling of a dharmic drive among his clients.
In fact, this was an active tactic of many leaders during the assembly elections of Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Karnataka. Leaders like Akhilesh Yadav and Congress scion Rahul Gandhi were seen touring temples and Kishor seems to be suggesting Mamata such strategies as well.
There is no denying the fact that there is a massive overcurrent against Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal, and the TMC is losing ground to the BJP with every passing day as the Hindus of the state begin rallying behind the BJP. As such, to not counter the polarisation in favour of the BJP could prove disastrous for the TMC. Perhaps it is for this very reason that Prashant Kishor caused Mamata to go on a temple-overdrive in Nandigram.
Mind you, the constituency of Nandigram is no joke. It is the citadel of Suvendu Adhikari, who is being pitted by the BJP against Mamata Banerjee herself. Keeping the challenges in mind, Prashant Kishor has started developing desperate strategies for the TMC, which he has been trying and experimenting with other elections as well. However, almost always, last-minute desperate strategies devised by Prashant Kishor have failed to bear any fruit for his clients.
None of them backfired as spectacularly as in West Bengal, where Mamata Banerjee, solely due to the aim of fulfilling her temple-hopping challenge, had to go through tremendously excruciating pain. What is worse is that the strategy seems to be yielding no positive results for the TMC on the ground. The misrule of the government of the past ten years has been just too magnanimous for all people to ignore, all for a few allegedly moving scenes that emerged out of Nandigram on Wednesday evening.