oppn parties Has The BJP Trumped The TMC In Bengal?

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Has The BJP Trumped The TMC In Bengal?

By Linus Garg
First publised on 2024-06-03 01:30:31

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Linus tackles things head-on. He takes sides in his analysis and it fits excellently with our editorial policy. No 'maybe's' and 'allegedly' for him, only things in black and white.

If what the exit polls predict turns out to be true, the Trinamool Congress is in for a huge surprise on June 4. With almost all exit polls predicting a hugely improved performance by the BJP in the state, with India Today-Axis My India giving it 26-31 seats and ABP-CVoter 23-27 and all others saying that it will get more seats than the regional party, it seems that the people of Bengal have finally decided to buck previous voting patterns and start voting differently in assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

That the BJP was gaining traction in the state was proved when the party won a record 18 seats in 2019. But after that, the TMC got a thumping majority in the 2021 assembly elections and it got substantial leads in the assembly segments comprising Lok Sabha seats that were held by the BJP, pushing the national party on the back foot. To compound the problems for the BJP, those TMC leaders who joined the party after the 2019 showing started deserting and indulged in ghar wapasi to the regional party. The BJP was looking like a lost cause till the teachers’ appointment scam, cattle smuggling scam and the coal scam raised their head. Senior party leader Partha Chatterjee brought shame on the party when mountains of cash and gold were found at the home of his alleged consort (Chatterjee is still in ED custody). And then, just a few months before the Lok Sabha elections, Sandeshkhali and Sheikh Shah Jahan happened.

It seems Sandeshkhali was a shock the TMC could not recover from despite a sting operation that sought to prove that the BJP had engineered the affair to defame the party. If the exit polls prove to be true and if TMC actually loses ground in the state, Sandeshkhali and corruption will be the two areas where it would have failed to convince the people of its clean intentions. There is no doubt that Bengal is a prestige battle after the TMC decided to pull out of the INDIA alliance in the state and there were three-cornered contests on most seats. With PM Modi making record visits to the state (and Amit Shah and J P Nadda also making multiple visits), the BJP had focused on Bengal like never before. If the exit polls prove to be true, its efforts would be well rewarded and the TMC will have a battle on its hands in the 2026 assembly elections.