Though the elections were held for five assemblies, it was West Bengal Assembly the whole country was looking up to. It is said, just as California in the US, Bengal thinks today what the rest of India would think tomorrow. It is ahead of other states. We know what kind of leadership was given to the country by Vivekananada, Rabindranath Tagore, Subhash Chandra Bose and Aurobindo Ghosh. Today, the ordinary Bengali voters have shown the way to the rest of the country that the BJP juggernaut could be stopped. The historic win registered by the TMC has given an opportunity for the opposition by throwing up Mamata as a future leader of an alliance to fight the BJP.
Begali ‘bhadralok’ stood by their daughter. The women of Bengal voted for Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress Party (TMC) overwhelmingly. Mamata gave preference to women by fielding more women candidates in Lok Sabha and Assembly elections than any other party. She was successful in invoking Bengali ‘asmita (self respect).’ She fought with her back to the wall like a true Bengali tigress.
Mamata’s decision to fight from Nandigram knowing very well that her former aide Suvendu Adhikari has entrenched himself in the constituency for ten years with her own unstinted support to him was truly a bold decision and a calculated risk on her part. That showed the character of Mamata as a courageous fighter who defeated the Left Front in 2016 and now the BJP led front in 2021. The only woman chief minister in the country has shown to the people that defeating a leader of Narendra Modi’s standing is not impossible.
It was Modi Vs Didi
It was not Mamata who made the battle for Bengal a Modi Vs Didi fight. It was the BJP that kept on criticizing the chief minister making her singular target for their fierce attack. Modi ridiculing Mamata calling her ‘Didi O Didi’ at one public meeting after other must have cost the BJP many votes. Modi’s inappropriate way of addressing their chief minister must have hurt the middle class Bengali sensibilities.
Modi has congratulated Mamata for the big win and assured her of the Centre’s support and cooperation in ruling the State. He also said that the BJP has improved its strength in West Bengal enormously, which is true. It is a different thing that the expectations of the BJP leadership of coming to power in West Bengal have not been met. But rising from three seats to more than 70 seats is a remarkable performance. In the BJP has decimated the Left parties and the Congress and established itself as the only opposition in West Bengal.
Mamata is a match to BJP
Mamata Banerjee has proved that she is a match to the BJP. Her credentials to lead the opposition alliance in 2024 elections have improved remarkably. If Sonia Gandhi can get over her weakness for son, she would do well to invite former Congress leaders such as Sharad Pawar, Mamata Banerjee and non-Congress and non-BJP leaders such as Navin Patnaik and even Nitish Kumar into an alliance opposed to the NDA alliance to give a good fight to the saffron army led by Modi in the next general elections. Sharad Pawar can be made chairman of the coalition and the job of prime minister could be kept open. It would be BJP led alliance Vs the Congress led alliance. It would not be Modi Vs Rahul which would be advantage the former. Rahul Gandhi is no match to Modi. The Congress, though it could not make a mark in the five states, cannot be written off. It is the only national party, other than the BJP, which can lead an alternative alliance. To think of an anti-BJP alliance without the Congress would be a fallacy in the given conditions. Sonia Gandhi has an opportunity to create a new and formidable alliance which would be a game changer. Would she rise up to the occasion?
Prashant Kishor’s accomplishment
A person who needs to be congratulated is election specialist Prashant Kishor. He worked for two regional parties – TMC and DMK. Both the parties have won in respective states. One party, TMC, won despite being in power for ten years and the other, DMK, won since it was out of power for ten years. Prashant Kishor has announced that he would be quitting the space as election specialist and would do something else. He tried his hand in politics in Bihar. He was deputy to Nitish Kumar, chief minister of Bihar. But he could not get along with Nitish for long as the latter was getting closer to Narendra Modi. PK, as Prashant Kishor is popularly known, had toured Bihar before the assembly elections last year. But he did not float a party nor did he join any existing party.
People voted for tainted politicians in many states. Money, muscle, lies, violence, caste, religion, region, appeasement, freebies played greater role than public welfare and good governance. Unfortunately intellectuals are also divided (or corrupt) in guiding the society.