Being the home-turf of Mamata Banerjee, it does not come as a surprise if TMC wins any election in the West Bengal. However, we have a real surprise for you. While BJP faced setbacks in the recently concluded by-poll elections, TMC too couldn’t perform well in by-poll elections conducted in Kolkata. Guess what? It has lost Muslim votes in Kolkata. It seems like ‘Bengal Spring’ has finally begun showing its effects.
What happened in Bengal by-poll elections
BJP had to face defeat in the two-time won Asansol Lok Sabha seat. It lost the seat to Trinamool Congress. TMC though managed to retain the Ballygunge assembly seat in south Kolkata, but it couldn’t be considered a victory. That is because the reports suggest that there has been a sharp decline in Muslim votes. Why, you may ask. Well, a section of Muslim voters is unhappy with Trinamool Congress. Instead of TMC, they have opted to vote for the Left.
Notably, veteran actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha contested the Asansol parliamentary seat on a TMC ticket. He led the party to win the seat. Before Sinha, Supriyo was elected MP from this seat in 2014 and 2019 as a BJP candidate. Sinha got over 56 per cent votes. Agnimitra Paul, on the other hand, as the BJP candidate got over 30 per cent votes.
In Ballygunge assembly constituency, Babul Supriyo contested on a TMC ticket. Babul managed to win around 50 per cent votes (51,199). This is 20 per cent less than Subrata Mukherjee’s 70 per cent votes of 2021 Assembly elections. Mukherjee is the veteran politician of TMC who earlier used to contest from the Ballygunge seat.
It is pertinent to note that CPI(M) candidate and actor Naseeruddin Shah’s niece Saira Shah Halim bagged around 30 per cent votes (30,971).
Shikha Mukerjee, political analyst told Deccan Herald. “In Kolkata, confidence of Muslim voters in Mamata as an agent of change that will impact the community across the board is declining. The rise in Left’s votes is an indication,” she added.
‘Bengal spring’ under Mamata’s rule
Recently, a young Muslim leader Anis Khan was killed by four people in the wee hours of the night. According to his father, out of the 4 people who killed Anis, one was in an official Bengal Police uniform while 3 others were wearing civil volunteers’ dress.
Read more: There is a Bengal spring going on in Mamata’s Bengal and its good for the nation
Meanwhile, due to his political background, the alleged murder has turned into a political controversy. Anis was an active student leader. For a major part of his life, he was connected with the much-derided Student Federation of India (SFI), the student wing of CPI-M. Left parties started protesting in the whole state demanding justice for Anis and his family. Moreover, they are having scuffles with police which indicates that the legitimacy of Bengal police under Mamata has nosedived for Bengal’s left.
Moreover, internally it is believed that the left is closer to Muslims than Mamata. It is the left government that gave OBC reservations to Muslims in the state, which was later capitalised on by Mamata.
Given the above facts, it was thus obvious for the Muslims to vote for left. However, the dwindling vote bank of the above two parties is only going to benefit BJP in long run. BJP, thus, needs to play its card well to ensure the victory in upcoming elections and strengthen their stature in the state.