There is popular saying “You lose the battle, but win the war”
BJP scored spectacular victory in 2019 Lok Sabha elections winning 18 seats with 2,30,28517 votes casted in the favour with approximately 40.7% of votes. The win raised hope and expectations among the rank & file of Saffron supporters of the party about imminent win in Bengal for the first time in seven decades. The election was fought in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The party did not announce the Chief Minister candidate. The month long campaign turned into personality battle with Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitted against incumbent Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The Saffron party campaign in charge Home Minister Amit Shah had lined up battery of leaders to campaign in the state with the slogan “Ab Ki Baar 200 Paar”. The spectacular campaign of the Saffron party met the fierce resistance of Mamata Banerjee, who played the Bengali pride to her advantage. She addressed the masses in Bangla and the personalized attacks of section of BJP leaders on the wheelchair incident got women of the state to vote for a woman. The “Didi, o Didi” remark was the undoing for BJP, in which Mamata projected herself as streetfighter seeking to protect Bengali identity against the outsiders.
Apart from personalized attacks on Mamata the Saffron party was plauged by infighting among the factions. Many BJP leaders expressed the dissatisfaction over allocation of seats to turncoats from TMC. Kailash Vijayvargiya, Arvind Menon, Mukul Roy poor choice of candidates caused heartburn among the party’s cadres. The dissidents contested as independents led to defeat of the Saffron party by slender margin. Bengal BJP President Dilip Ghosh is taking stock of situation and had stated those who wish to enjoy power without making sacrifices would be asked to leave. Mukul Roy deserting Saffron party for TMC is setback for the party in the state. Former Meghalaya Governor and BJP veteran Tathagata Roy described Mukul Roy as “Trojan Horse” implanted by TMC and asked Mamata Banerjee to accomodate Kailash Vijayvargiya in TMC. Many TMC turncoats have started abondoning BJP and have decided to fly under the wings of Mamata Banerjee. The mass exodus of leaders & cadres have exposed the deep faultlines in the party marred by factionalism.
Every storm has silver lining and all is not lost for the Saffron party. In the high profile contest in Nandigram BJP leader Suvendhu Adhikari defeated Mamata Banerjee by 1956 votes thereby taking sheen away from TMC spectacular victory. This is personal setback for Mamatha Banerjee for her failure to retain her seat. The Saffron party retained the voteshare of 2019 Lok Sabha Elections in 2021 Assembly Elections with 2,28,50,710 votes & 38.13% voteshare. The state has 30% representation of Muslims and according to Mumbai based analyst Sumeet Mehta the second largest community overwhelmingly voted for TMC in carefully curated chatter on social media platforms of imminent possibility of Saffron party returning to power in case they do not vote strategically for one party. TMC benefited from this undeclared alliance where Congress & Left transferred all of their political assets to ruling party. The Index of Opposition Unity came into play in 2021 West Bengal assembly elections with this move of Opposition parties to stop BJP coming into power.
The state leadership of the party is not caving under the pressure of the post poll violence in the state against its cadres. The party has decided to organize state wide protest on June 23rd 2021, with party leaders including MLA’s & MP’s will be present in districts across the state. A petition has been moved in Supreme Court seeking detailed SIT probe into gangrape of multiple women & minors by TMC supporters. With Left & Congress completely decimated the Saffron party with 77 seats emerges as the lone opposition voice in the state. The leaders are being disciplined to follow the party line and accountability enforced. Suvendhu Adhikari has been named as West Bengal leader of Opposition. The main focus will be to expand the core support base representing the marginalized & oppressed Hindus. The challenge would be to raise the organizational reach across the state and down to the booth level. All the development shows BJP is now growing as mature opposition. A stint in power without being in Opposition would have been disastrous for the Saffron party in 2024 Lok Sabha Parliamentary elections. The state leadership would now be decisive and committed to improve its tally of 2019 LS result. And the political capital invested by Amit Shah will reap benefits for the party in the time to come. West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar met Home Minister Amit Shah to appraise him of the situation after BJP MLAs raised concern over ‘lawlessness’ in state. The post poll response of BJP leaders shows their commitment to protect the law & order and uphold the Bengal Identity, which seemed to have lost by voters, who have been seemingly influenced by second wave Wuhan Chinese Virus Delta variant detected in West Bengal in early March this year. A possible sabotage & influence from across the border not ruled out to ensure that BJP does not come to power. And this will surely help to plug the gapping loopholes by the Saffron party not to declare victory earlier and never underestimate the opposition.