As West Bengal gears up for the fifth phase of the Assembly elections, the BJP’s chances are ever increasing in the 45 seats which are heading to polls later this week due to the consolidation of the Gorkha and Matua community who are solidly behind the saffron party.
The 45 assembly constituencies which head to polls, the BJP during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, had polled more votes than West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress. The saffron party secured close to 45 per cent votes while Mamata’s TMC polled 41.5 per cent votes. In terms of seats, the TMC led in 23 assembly segments while the BJP led in 22 seats.
In the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP got more than Mamata (43%) votes (45%) in this area, which has created problems for Mamata.
In the current phase, the regions of Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and Kalimpong, Nadia, North 24 Parganas and East Bardhaman head to polls with the BJP expected to do well in the Gorkha region.
The reason for the comfortable political situation for the BJP is the consolidation of the Gorkhas and the Matuas with the saffron party.
While Bimal Gurung led GJM, which helped the BJP perform exceptionally well in the Lok Sabha elections, is now fighting in cahoots with Mamata Banerjee, the districts of Darjeeling and Kalimpong are witnessing a huge BJP wave.
Additionally, apart from GJM, there are other smaller Gorkha parties which have pledged support to the BJP. The GJM also has two factions – Gurung and Tamang, and it is expected that there will be a division of votes between the two factions which will further aid the BJP.
The fact that Union Home Minister Amit Shah has pledged a permanent political solution for the Gorkha issue through the double engine BJP government in Centre and Bengal is fast turning out to be a major vote catcher.
For the rest of the seats, the Matua community is a major factor with even Mamata’s Man Friday, Prashant Kishor, during a clubhouse interaction, admitting that the community is likely to vote en masse for the BJP.
In the areas where the TMC is stronger – North 24 Parganas and East Bardhaman, in the advent of a split in the minority votes between the TMC and the Left-INC-ISF alliance, Mamata might be routed.
The Trinamool Congress, which had won 32 of the 45 seats in the 2016 Assembly elections, will likely vacate its space for the saffron party with the latter having a good chance of matching Trinamool’s number of the previous election.