In a dramatic turn of events, the West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, who seems rattled by the BJP’s meteoric rise in the state, has reached out to her arch-rival in the state, CPI (M) as well as the Congress. During the West Bengal Assembly session, Mamata Banerjee said, “The people of the state are witnessing in Bhatpara what happens if you vote for the BJP. I feel all of us — TMC, Congress and CPI (M) — should come together in the fight against the BJP. It doesn’t mean we have to join hands politically, but on common issues at the national level, we can come together.” Till now, Mamata Banerjee has been seen as a staunch critic of the left party and it was the TMC which had ended the thirty-four-year communist rule in the state. It was the Nandigram movement which had led to the emergence of the Mamata Banerjee led TMC the nemesis of the CPI (M).
However, the TMC is now giving up on ideology in face of a looming threat of a rising BJP in the state. This time around the BJP won 18 seats during the Lok Sabha polls, while the TMC’s tally was reduced substantially to 22. BJP has made huge political inroads into the state. BJP, which was at one time, seen as virtually non-existent in the state, with its vote percentage jumping from a mere 17% in 2014 to nearly a staggering 40% in 2019 general elections. This feat was achieved despite violence during polls on the part of TMC workers including political murders which had struck fear among voters who were planning to uproot the Mamata Banerjee government. The BJP is well placed for a greater meteoric rise in the state. It is clear that this was the first time that BJP seemed strong enough to challenge the Mamata Banerjee government. Also, the BJP did not come across as a formidable force in West Bengal until the results came out exceeding all expectations. Now, that the BJP has established itself strongly, it can expect more voters to cast their ballot confidently in its favour and therefore Mamata Banerjee has reached out to her bitter opponent CPI (M) which has also been on the receiving end of poll violence by TMC goons.
It seems that the opposition has failed to learn its lessons from the Lok Sabha elections debacle. The SP-BSP grand alliance was at the centre of attention during the recent Parliamentary polls. The entire opposition was pinning its hopes on the coalition between these two parties. Political pundits were also confident about it claiming that its electoral arithmetic stood on a strong footing. However, the SP-BSP coalition did not manage to put up a strong fight against the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. It is clear that unholy alliances and electoral arithmetic can no longer do the trick, if the opposition is at all serious about stopping the BJP’s juggernaut, then it has to perform better. They will have to give the electorate a real, viable alternative, instead of vote bank politics and crafty alliances.
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