India’s grand old party, Congress, is on the deathbed. After placing itself at the national level, BJP is now throwing out the 126-year-old political party from different state assemblies. Congress is now so vulnerable that it is ceding elections to rival BJP.
In a tactically implicit surrender to BJP, Congress has decided not to contest the by-poll election in Bhawanipur. The by-poll is the most crucial election of Mamata Banerjee’s political career as only winning Bhawanipur by-polls will ensure that her Chief Minister’s post is intact with her. Announcing their blank slate in Bhawanipur, Congress Bengal President Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said-“The high command has informed us that Congress will not field any candidate against Mamata Banerjee in Bhawanipur. The high command feels that Congress, by all means, doesn’t want to help BJP in any way by putting up a candidate against Mamata.” He further added that “The Congress will neither field any candidate against Banerjee nor campaign against her before the September 30 by-poll.”
In the 2021 West Bengal Assembly elections, Congress and the Left had allied. The alliance could not gather even a single seat in the 294 seats Assembly. On an individual level, after winning 44 seats in the 2016 elections, Congress could not garner a single seat and was wiped out of the state. TMC emerged victorious with 213 seats, while BJP was on the second spot with 77. Compared to the 2016 elections, BJP secured 74 more seats, while TMC’s dismal gain was limited to two seats only.
Bhawanipur- the last hope for Mamata
Even though her party won the election, Mamata Banerjee lost to BJP’s Suvendu Adhikary from Nandigram. To remain a chief Minister, Mamata has to win an assembly seat. Feared by the rise of the BJP, she decided to take a safer bet and fight from the Bhawanipur constituency.
Bhawanipur has been a home for Mamata, it was this city where she accelerated her political journey. She was once known as a ‘street fighter’ in Bhawanipur. Riding on anti-left sentiments in 2011, she easily won from Bhawanipur. Though her popularity declined in 2016, she still managed to win this seat again. Now, after getting a thrashing by Suvendu in Nandigram, she is again latching on to Bhawanipur to save her position.
Bhawanipur’s Demography is now a lot more different than in 2011. It is mainly dominated by Gujratis and Marwaris and, more than 70 per cent of the people in Bhawanipur are Hindus. Mamata’s worries about not being able to win Bhawanipur are evident from the fact that her party is trying to woo the Hindus. With Durga Pooja approaching the election, Mamata Banarjee’s administration has offered a Rs 50,000 grant to Durga Puja Committees across the state.
Congress profiting as a spectator
Congress recognized that there is a very slim chance of Mamata Banerjee retaining her Chief Minister’s post. Mamata’s loss will strengthen BJP’s position in the state. If Congress contests elections against BJP, it cannot win the seats, but it will make sure that Mamata’s vote bank gets a dent which in turn will weaken her. Congress is focused on stopping BJP from wherever and whenever possible.
BJP is a nationalistic party that unites the country while Congress believes in divide-and-rule ideology whose sole agenda is to rule the country by creating internal disharmony and appeasing Islamists. A nationalistic party at the top will wipe out Congress completely.