In the question of regional sentiment, West Bengal was next to no other state of India. Bengali sub-nationalism had been very strong in this state. Central BJP leadership ignored that vital point before state Assembly election 2021 and thus a non-performing and corrupt incumbent TMC party could win the election for the third consecutive time in West Bengal by playing ‘Bengali card’ in a big way. Modi-Shah did not know that a good proportion of Hindu Bengali of West Bengal would prefer to align with Muslim Bengali of Bangladesh than with Hindus of Assam, Bihar and Orissa.
Too many visits of Modi-Shah to West Bengal before Assembly election 2021 had spoiled the broth for BJP in the state. Everything was controlled by Central BJP leadership. The local leadership of the state was visibly non-existent. There was no declared Bengali face to lead BJP in the state. This wounded the sentiment of many among pro-BJP Hindu Bengali community and they leaned towards TMC while voting.
Before 2019 Lok Sabha election, Sri Mukul Roy (National Vice President of BJP from West Bengal) was doing all ground works in the state and he was given great amount of liberty also. Moreover, Lok Sabha election did not call for any ‘Bengali face’ from West Bengal. These were the reasons for BJP’s success in 2019 Lok Sabha election in West Bengal. But Assembly election and that too against Mamata Banerjee centric TMC, required a popular and charismatic Bengali face of BJP which was not there. BJP failed to learn from its defeat in last Delhi Assemble election.
The defection of leaders from TMC to BJP before election and most getting tickets to fight election did not go well with a large group of Bengali ‘Bhodrolok” voters. This also denied the old BJP local leaders the opportunity to get party ticket. It was surprising that between May 2019 and April 2021, BJP could not groom 294 MLA candidates as some sitting BJP MPs of West Bengal were brought to fight Assembly election. This was ridiculous.
BJP central leadership failed to aggressively pursue Sardha financial scandal case, Narada bribery case, and Rose Valley financial case in recent past years. All those cases were against TMC government. BJP also could not make a good case against the TMC led state government on presence of Bangladeshi terrorist groups in West Bengal and smuggling of cow, coal, sand and wheat to Bangladesh. These failures led to the loss of credibility of BJP. Instead of fighting TMC politically, BJP tried to break TMC and that was a stupid effort.
In 2019 Parliamentary election, BJP got 42% of vote share against 44% of TMC. But in 2021 Assembly election BJP lost 4% of its vote share which got added to TMC’s share. Thus BJP got 38% of vote and TMC got 48% of vote. For all practical purpose, that loss of 4% of BJP’s vote share was due to increased Bengali sub-nationalism among many Bengali Hindu voters. So, BJP first lost 4% from its original vote share and also could not attract any new Hindu Bengali voters.
From another angle, BJP and TMC got 86% of votes and rest 14% was distributed among Congress, Left, ISF and others. While BJP got all its votes share (38%) from Hindu voters, TMC’s Hindu voter share was about 20% only. The rest 28% of TMC’s vote came from Muslim community that constituted about 30% of all voters. TMC Supremo was not sure before election of getting such unanimous support from Muslim community and she was visibly jittery then.
Mamata Banerjee’s propaganda on NRC, CAA and Hindu communalism of BJP worked to bring Muslim votes towards her. To attract Hindu votes she even had to resort to ‘wheel chair drama’. Bengali sub-nationalism was also used by her to the hilt. Bengali Hindu rural farmers were brainwashed that if BJP came to power, it would take away the farm land ownership from them under new Farm Acts 2020. That was a plain lie. But it worked in favour of TMC very well, as BJP failed to counter that.
Mamata Banerjee was afraid of defeat before election and cried foul play by EVM, Central Force and Election Commission. She even threatened to move Supreme Court if TMC were defeated in the election. But enmasse support from Muslim community and certain degree of Hindu sympathy wave for ‘Bengali sub-nationalism’ turned the table in TMC’s favour.
It was not only that a large group of ‘Bhadrolok’ Hindu Bengali of West Bengal origin voted for TMC, a large section of refugees and their descendants also voted for TMC. It was an irony that the second category was first made ‘secular’ by Communists and then ‘Hindu-phobic’ by TMC. They happily kicked the cause of Hinduism for which they were forced to leave East Pakistan / Bangladesh. Such pathetic state of mind could only be found among the Hindu Bengali of West Bengal.
By voting TMC to power, this large group of Hindus endorsed ‘Khela’, ‘Mela’, ‘Utsav’, syndicate-raj, hooliganism, cut-money, unemployment, money laundering, illegal coal mining, cow smuggling to Bangladesh, de-industrialization, demolition of education, health System and law & order, communal appeasement, lack of civic safety, corruption in all fronts, cleansing of political opponents, Islamization of the state, abolition of government posts and beggary.
The 2021 West Bengal Assembly election was a watershed in the religio-political history of the state. It confirmed again that Hindu Bengali voted with emotion, but Muslims voted with political intent. By 2031, Muslim voters in the state would be around 40% and instead of supporting TMC or any other so called Secular Party, they would surely have their own Party and candidates. This would surely happen and West Bengal would gradually transform into next Kashmir or Syria.