After four action-packed voting days, the state of West Bengal and its 45 assembly seats will be up for grabs in the fifth phase of the elections, scheduled to be held on Saturday. As the elections head to the business end, the battle for the urban areas has started to heat up. Traditionally BJP has fared well amongst the urban class of cities in states around the country, especially in the northern hinterland. However, the intellectual class of Bengal (Bhadralok) has always looked at BJP and its tilt towards the right-wing with suspicion.
BJP targeting the grey areas
But this time around BJP has employed a change in strategy which could push the all-important demography of voters to its side. By consciously raising issues like lawlessness and infiltration by outsiders, the party has managed to sow seeds of doubts regarding Mamata’s tumultuous reign of fear. The BJP is trying to occupy the ‘grey area’ where the Bhadralok may also not like CM Mamata Banerjee as much.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah whilst campaigning on the posh seat of Bidhannagar which goes into voting on Saturday brought up the illegal immigration issue and how the infiltration of aliens was affecting the affluent class as well. “The day is not far when the problem of infiltration (from the borders) will enter Kolkata too. Other parties cannot stop this as they see in it their vote banks. Only BJP can stop it,” said Amit Shah.
Curtailment of free-thinking in Mamata’s reign of fear
While one BJP star campaigner was raising the issue of aliens, another BJP stalwart in JP Nadda was camping in Rajarhat New Town — another posh area of Kolkata to appeal fervently to the urban voters.
“Where the thought process stops, development of society ceases. You have been subjugated, so you are not able to give your best. We want to bring rule of law to Bengal which will be helpful to all,” said Nadda talking about the intellectual thought process that had come to a nought under Mamata’s reign.
The urban class detests nothing more than the curtailing of free speech and movement. Under Mamata’s rule, Bengal has become the epitome of censorship and anarchy. Despite the differences amongst myriad classes of the society, Bengal has always been a melting pot of different ideas and cultures coming together but Mamata in the past five years has gone after anyone who has refused to toe the line of TMC.
Killing, kidnapping and torturing have seemingly become the banal truth while Didi is seated on the CM chair and Nadda was looking to hit the hammer on the nail by co-relating it to the casement of intellectual progress.
Phoenix-like rise of BJP in the LS polls
As reported by TFI, the politics of West Bengal has always been dominated by Bhadralok Community, which constitutes three upper castes- Brahmin, Baidya, and Kayastha. The educated, middle and upper-middle class, of Bengal who had once given their seal of approval to Mamata Banerjee’s bid to oust the Left from Bengal in 2011, has now grown weary of her vote bank and appeasement politics.
Furthermore, the phoenix-like rise of BJP in Bengal and the renewed interest of upper-class Bhadraloks in the party could further dent Mamata Banerjee’s chances of retaining the seat.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP pulled a bunny out of the hat by winning 18 out of the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state and crossed the 40 per cent vote share mark, a 23 percentage points jump from its 2014 performance.
It is observed that whosoever wins Kolkata and its urban class votes ends up winning the state as well. TMC had won all the 11 seats in the Kolkata district when Mamata fashioned a second straight term in the state. However, the BJP says it managed to get leads in three of these assembly segments during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The BJP expects a close fight in three more seats in the Kolkata district this time and if the stars align, the party could win 50 per cent of the seats in Kolkata district, a senior BJP official was quoted as saying by News18.
BJP has got its other bases covered
As reported previously by TFI, while the fight in Kolkata is on a knife’s edge, the state CM is preparing for a crushing defeat in the Hooghly district. It is imperative to understand that in the 2016 assembly elections, the ruling TMC won 16 out of the 18 seats in Hooghly, while the CPI-M and the Champdani assembly seat were captured by the Congress in Pandua seat. However, in the 2019 General elections, barring 4-5 seats in the region, BJP dominated every single seat which is expected to translate into tangible results, come May 2.
Reported extensively by TFI, BJP has got its bases covered in the non-Bhadralok votes in the rural areas, women votes and votes from the minority communities such as Matuas. The last frontier is the urban class votes and if BJP’s efforts are any indication, Mamata is in for a stiff resistance as BJP continues on its sojourn to decimate Mamata and her ambitions of securing a third straight term.