On 23rd, BJP witnessed the largest majority in Lok Sabha in its history, with the party getting 303 seats out of the 543 parliamentary constituencies and NDA overall getting 353 seats. While the party’s performance has been tremendous in all the states, the result in West Bengal is the cherry on top of the cake. Traditionally a left stronghold and then dominated by TMC, this is the first time that BJP has opened its account in the state with 18 seats, bringing down TMC’s tally to 22. This unprecedented result has been in spite of numerous incidents of booth capturing and massive political violence by the TMC leaders.
However, the celebration will be short lived. TMC leader Mamata Banerjee is extremely unsettled after the results. This election result has hit her hard and has made her realise that the state is no longer in her clutches. Nevertheless, she still has the power over the state government. Seeing Mamata’s penchant of using violence and threats to continue her regime, she is going to do the same to retain power in the state. Due to this, a lot of people, including the BJP leaders as well as the people residing in the areas with a BJP majority are unsafe.
BJP needs to preemptively act upon this inevitable situation. One of the solutions is to break the TMC government. PM Modi had earlier stated that 40 of Mamata’s MLAs are in contact with him and that they might leave her. This is going to be a welcome move but isn’t enough to gain power at the state level. However, there is one thing the BJP can do and that is- keeping Mamata Banerjee on her toes. In this, the central government needs to categorically make her aware that her violence in any form would not be tolerated and even the slightest of political violence would be used to bring President’s rule in the state. This is going to be a double-edged sword for the party, as, Mamata Banerjee, in order to protect her reign will abstain from unleashing unnecessary violence and if at all she does, the assembly elections will be preponed in which her loss is inevitable. With the threat of a President’s rule and the subsequent formation of a new government, Mamata Banerjee is going to curtail herself, without which, the state will suffer massively for 2 years.
Though the threat will be enough to keep a prudent leader on its toes, Mamata Banerjee is hardly what one would refer to as ‘prudent’. Therefore, BJP needs to take other measures in the state, including, consolidating its position. Since the past 1 ½ years, there hasn’t been a single day in which a top BJP leader wasn’t in the state of West Bengal. Whether it was Ram Madhav, Amit Shah, Kailash Vijaygargi or PM Modi himself; and this is exactly what needs to be continued. The top leaders must continue to engage with the state in this manner. Not only will this reap electoral benefits in the state assembly election, but also will give the Bengal citizens a sense of protection.
Additionally, the state is one of the most backward ones in the country, largely untouched by development of the last few years due to the apathy of the communist government and subsequently the TMC regime. The elected MPs of BJP in West Bengal has the golden opportunity to show the people of the state what real, inclusive development can do for the common man. The scope of improvement in West Bengal is immense so the work of BJP MPs is cut out for them.
Another advantage BJP can accrue through the large number of MPs is increased representation of West Bengal in Delhi. As stated, the apathetic communist and violent TMC regimes (in particular TMC) have denigrated the state-center relations and have undermined federalism continuously resulting in the sense of disassociation of West Bengal from the rest of India. The BJP MPs of Bengal will be working towards ‘re-integration’ of West Bengal through proper representation.
The election result has presented a once in a lifetime opportunity for the BJP to establish itself firmly in the state. The people of West Bengal have been deeply aligned with BJP’s ideology since the mid 20th century, and this time around, this ideological concurrence has reaped political benefits. In order to further involve the Bengalis, the centre must give West Bengal representation in the cabinet, which has been missing until now. By appointing Bengal leaders in the cabinet and concurrently pushing its leadership in the state, BJP will continue to engage with the state which would be beneficial in completely ousting Mamata.
The saffron party relies on a number of intellectuals, in and around the Modi government who hail from West Bengal, including, Sanjeev Sanyal, Swapan Das Gupta, Kanchan Gupta, Bibek Debroy, Rajiv Kumar and Surjit Bhalla, amongst many others. The central government must increase their prominence, so as to show West Bengal that their intellect and culture is much appreciated and more so, is vital for the functioning of the central government.
BJP’s rise in West Bengal has been sustained through RSS cadre and other Hindu organisations. Now, for further inroads into the state, BJP needs to work on developing its own cadre and the organizational structure for it.
All these measures are aimed to bring an end to Mamata Banerjee’s reign of terror. With the threat of a president’s rule lingering over her head, Mamata’s government is going to maintain the law and order of the state and meanwhile, BJP will continue to consolidate its position in the state, thus, ensuring that, in the event of the assembly elections, whether after a president’s rule or otherwise, the saffron party will emerge victorious.
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