Kolkata, Dec 31 (GCCurrentAffairs) The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) issues have helped Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee regain lost ground as her party has swept the assembly by-polls, winning all the three seats in the state after facing a tough challenge during this year’s Lok Sabha polls from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The TMC won the Kaliaganj seat in North Dinajpur, snatching the prestigious Kharagpur seat from BJP in West Midnapore district and also retained Karimpur seat in Nadiahttp district.
The Kharagpur seat fell vacant after Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh was elected to Lok Sabha from Medinipur earlier this year.
Interestingly, TMC has not just won the seat which gave BJP a lead of nearly 40,000 votes in Lok Sabha polls but it has also helped her regain lost ground with a handsome lead of over 18,000 votes in less than six months.
Similarly, TMC has regained some lost ground in north Bengal with the Kaliaganj victory. Kaliaganj comes under the Raiganj Lok Sabha constituency that was won by BJP’s Debasree Chaudhuri in May this year. The assembly segment had given the BJP a massive lead of nearly 57,000 votes in Lok Sabha.
However, the BJP’s Bengal in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya said that this by-election results will not have any impact on the 2021 state assembly polls.
“We will demand central forces at every polling booth in 2021,” Vijayvargiya added.
The CAA, NRC and NPR seem to have given the issue that can help her win public support, and thus, after every protest meet in the city, her speeches are getting louder, stronger, and aggressive. The smart usage of Hindi to woo the Hindi-speaking voters might also help.
The chief minister has already announced that her government would not implement the Citizenship Amendment Act in the state after being passed by both the Houses of Parliament.
The Hindi-speaking people in Bengal are generally believed to be BJP supporters. Mamata Banerjee has set her eyes on that vote bank as the state heads to the election in 2021.
Ms Banerjee has been actively using some slogans at her rallies like – Nahi Chalega Nahi Chalega, CAB Nahi Chalega, NRC Nahi Chalega, CAB Wapas Lo, CAB Wapas Lo, NRC Wapas Lo, Jo Humse Takrayega Chur Chur Ho Jayega to mark her anti-Citizen Amendments Act (CAA) stand.
These issue has also given TMC supremo an opportunity to consolidate her Muslim vote bank, which is 27-30 per cent in Bengal.
TMC supremo sloganeering highlights that everyone is a citizen of India, be it Hindu, Muslim, businessman or shopkeeper, Bihari or Bengali.
She has been leading rallies and addressing public meetings since CAB was given a go-ahead by both the houses of the Parliament and the President of India.
The city has been witnessing several protests against the amended Citizenship Act as well as National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Ms Banerjee has also vowed that she would not let CAB and NRC be implemented in West Bengal.
The state has also witnessed an orgy of violence during the stir with trains being set on fire and public property vandalised.
Meanwhile, the BJP has launched a counter offensive against the TMC in support of the amendment.
BJP working president J.P. Nadda, who led the massive “abhinandan yatra” from Hind Cinema to Shyambazar in north Kolkata on December 23, accused that Ms Banerjee has always put more emphasis on “vote bank politics over national interest.”
“Huge crowd here shows people are in support of the Citizenship Act. Mamata Banerjee is just doing vote bank politics by opposing the Citizenship Act, ” Mr Nadda said.
“She should see huge support for the Act and understand that people have rejected her vote bank politics,” the BJP working president stated.
Party General Secretary in-charge of West Bengal Kailash Vijayvargiya along with state party president Dilip Ghosh was also the part of the pro-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) rally.
Citing the Trinamool’s opposition to revoking of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, triple talaq and CAA, Mr Nadda said the party has always indulged in “appeasement.”
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh has resorted to a series of “thanksgiving” marches after the Centre introduced CAA.
However, State urban development minister and Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim warned, “The fight over CAA and NRC is not a fight between the Hindus and Muslims. If the majority community suffers as a result of the actions of a particular community, it will only benefit the BJP. If 70 per cent of the Hindu population vote for BJP (in the forthcoming Assembly elections), they will come to power here.”
The Lok Sabha elections, 2019, saw the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made deep inroads in Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo and Mamata Banerjee’ s bastion in West Bengal.
Having made significant gains in the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP has set its sights on winning 250 of the 294 assembly seats in the elections scheduled to be held in 2021.
“We had set a target of 23 seats in West Bengal in the Lok Sabha elections and we won 18. Our next target (for Assembly elections) is of 250 seats. We will draw up our election strategy and will leave no stone unturned to achieve this target,” BJP general secretary and in-charge of West Bengal said.
In the elections, the party’s popular vote rose from 17 per cent in 2014 to 40 per cent in 2019 and its Lok Sabha tally increased from 2 seats to 18 and at the same time the saffron party set a strong challenge before the TMC hardly two years ahead of the Assembly elections scheduled in 2021 in the state
There is now an open power struggle between the TMC and the BJP in West Bengal. After the election, a number of grisly murders have been reported between party cadres across the state. The BJP has done the unthinkable — it has become a formidable force in the state.
Most political pundits who had expected the party to gain in votes but fail to convert these into seats were taken by surprise, as was the chief minister who entered the 2019 election expecting a walkover on her home turf.
The most vitriolic exchanges this election season have perhaps been between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The fierce contest in West Bengal is reflected in the voter turnout, which is the highest in the country in this election so far.
The BJP has benefited by the systematic weakening of the Left — something which the TMC had actively worked towards — and have sought to fill up the opposition vacuum. In fact, a section of traditional Left voters and functionaries have reportedly switched to the BJP to try and stop the Trinamool Congress.
TMC supremo, fighting possibly the toughest battle of her political career, remains popular in rural Bengal, where people continue to make a distinction between her and her workers. Many of her welfare schemes have worked, and the people are grateful. Minority community stands rock solid behind her. But the danger to her rule from the BJP is real and present. Ms Banerjee realises it and continues to fight hard.