Mamata's party faces four-cornered contest and Namo Namo chant
West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee, in her inimitable style, is telling the people that there is no difference between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as both are part of a “syndicate” with the Left parties being their biggest allies. Rather she is trying to etch this idea in the voters’ minds, saying repeatedly “they are all same.”
It is a complicated message for the people of West Bengal, particularly compared to her battle cry in the 2009 Lok Sabha and 2011 Assembly elections, when she exhorted the anti-Left forces to unite to defeat the 34-year-old Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front government.
The four-cornered electoral contest in the State has posed an unprecedented challenge to the Trinamool Congress, which is aiming at a decisive national role. The party’s stakes are indeed high.
Political pundits say Ms. Banerjee is trying to counter the four-cornered challenge on the one hand and the Namo Namo chant on the other.
Publicly, she is dismissive saying it is only hype. But many feel that she is worried over the impact that the BJP may have on her vote bank in one of the most crucial Lok Sabha elections.
The dynamics seems to be changing for the other parties, including the BJP.
The Left Front is also concerned that some ground-level understanding between the Trinamool Congress and the BJP or the Congress may have an adverse impact on seats where it has better prospects.
The Congress, despite its dwindling support base, still retains its strength in its core areas in north Bengal and in Murshidabad. However, the rise of the BJP in the northern part of the State, particularly in the border districts of Malda and Uttar Dinajpur, and Dakshin Dinajpur is a cause for worry.
The State BJP leadership in its turn is trying to cash in on the four-cornered contest hoping that the enthusiasm around the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi may boost its prospects.
“The BJP will not win a single seat but will make the Left Front and the Congress win a few seats,” Ms. Banerjee has been saying of late at her public rallies.
That the BJP may emerge as the political game changer in West Bengal is evident in the manner in which both the Trinamool Congress and the Left Front are targeting the party in their election campaigns -- unprecedented in West Bengal, as the BJP was never really a factor for so long.
Though many believe that it will be a tough task for the BJP to increase its seat tally from one in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, it is most likely that its vote share will rise from 5.71 per cent in the previous elections.
One thing is certain that amidst the new volatility in the State politics, the four-cornered contest may trigger fresh dynamics.