West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is without any seat since the announcement of assembly election results on May 2. Bhawanipur, the seat where Mamata is planning to contest the by-election will go into polling on September 30 with the results expected to be out on October 3.
To stay Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee has to contest the by-poll and most importantly, win it and become a member of the state legislative assembly. Article 164 of the constitution says a minister who is not an MLA within six months has to resign.
BJP has the golden chance to eject Mamata out of state politics. Thus, it will be important to choose a leader that can not only stand against her but defeat her in the contest. A couple of big political names, Dinesh Trivedi and Tathagata Roy have been doing the rounds of media circles like the ones expected to take the field against Mamata.
Tathagata Roy – a true BJP warrior
Tathagata Roy is a former professor and founder-head of the Department of Construction Engineering at Jadavpur University in Kolkata. The 75-year-old politician was a Swayamsevak since 1985 and was a member of the BJP national executive since 2002. From 2002 to 2006, he served as State BJP President for West Bengal. Roy was also a member of the BJP National Executive from 2002 until 2015. From 2015-2018, he served as the governor of Tripura and Governor of Meghalaya from 2018-2020.
Roy has a bucketful of experience in the administrative and political echelons of the state. He understands the ins and outs of the party and how things tick within BJP and the wider political spectrum of the state. Roy has been perhaps one of the most outspoken and unapologetic leaders to challenge Mamata and talk about the Hindus.
He has always stood up for Bengali Hindus and spoke against the atrocities committed on them, whether they be during the partition of Bengal, the massacre of Sylheti-Bengali refugees or in present times, the pathetic side-lining of West Bengal’s Hindus by a ‘dictatorial regime’.
After being relieved of his Governor duties last year, Tathagata Roy had made his willingness to once again join active politics of West Bengal known to the state and central leadership of the party, and also to the RSS. Now, is the perfect time to bring him back and go one up against Mamata and her TMC. TMC is a one-woman party and if Mamata does not remain at the centre, the party will crumble in no time.
Roy has not shied away from calling out the “Ma, Mati, Manush” party for its shameless appeasement and pandering to minorities, irrespective of them being Indian citizens or illegal Bangladeshis, at the cost of the state’s Hindus. In an already polarised political environment, Roy would come as a boon for the saffron party.
As for Dinesh Trivedi, the former TMC turned BJP leader is not a bad choice by any stretch. However, after the exodus of turncoat leaders from BJP to TMC when the latter won the elections, it would send a better message across the state cadre if a leader was born and brought up in the BJP and RSS camp is chosen for the fight.
Mamata lost Nandigram and ditched Bhawanipur
In the assembly election, Banerjee lost the Nandigram seat to BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari. She was defeated by almost 2,000 votes, the result of which has been challenged in the Calcutta High Court. Mamata Banerjee has asked for Adhikari’s election to be declared void on three grounds – commission of corrupt practices, seeking of votes on basis of religion, and booth capture.
In her pursuit to stop Suvendu Adhikari, she had casually ditched her constituency voters and never once turned to them to try and reason the decision to pacify them. The step-brotherly treatment meted will surely play on the minds of the voters and opposition would milk it as an opportunity to corner the TMC queen bee.
As reported by TFI earlier, Bhawanipur constitutes more than 70 per cent of the non-Bengalis and a majority of the Gujarati population who do not seem to see her as their representative. The Bengali Hindus of West Bengal are in dire need of someone who has the capability of speaking for them. A scholar and a knowledgeable man, Roy is not the usual politician. As such, he is bound to strike a chord with the bhadraloks of Bengal.
And if Tathagata Roy is indeed chosen for the fight, Mamata Banerjee might just become the third CM in history to lose the by-polls – a feat she certainly won’t enjoy on her political resume.