The TMC chef will enter the race in Bengal with the baggage he has created in ten years strapped to his ankles
Mamata Banerjee file photo. PTI
In Bengal, the fields of white kaash flowers herald the Durga Puja and the election fields heralds of blood.
The auspicious one has passed. The disaster is fast approaching.
The BJP state alleges morons in the ruling TMC brazenly murdered more than 120 of its workers and leaders. He says the Mamata Banerjee regime is trying to stifle its dramatic rise by resorting to terror.
Banerjee retains a strong mass appeal among large sections of the state electorate. His simplicity, his street-fighter courage and his basic ties always present a formidable political force.
Will the BJP be able to defeat it? Left on its own, the challenge may have seemed overwhelming. But the force that seems more and more capable of defeating Mamata Banerjee is Mamata Banerjee herself.
She will enter the race in Bengal with the baggage she has created in ten years attached to her ankles.
It all started with the very anti-corporate and anti-land acquisition movements – Singur and Nandigram – that propelled her to power in 2011. This gave businesses and industry such a global fear that no center Outstanding manufacturing and service has only sprung up from the left. left. The stagnation is staggering, the migration is not weakening. State satraps cite uninflation-adjusted growth figures and other similar metrics to cover it up.
Reduced money, or bribes and brokerage, at every step in all industries, has become rampant. Fingers point to the top: Banerjee’s nephew, Abhishek. As his power within the party increases, so too does he control various lucrative unions across the state.
Abhishek could hamper his aunt’s chances in the next election in several ways. Many elders see his rise as dynastic and devoid of any merit. They resent his seemingly brash style of operation.
At a time when BJP fishes TMC’s murky waters with a large net, discontent makes it easier for them to catch big fish like Shuvendu Adhikari.
Nepotism and corruption have reached such a point that the Chief Minister has had to publicly call on her workers to give up. Materials and money for Cyclone Amphan relief were reportedly distributed between local TMC leaders and their relatives, leaving out those whose lives were devastated by the storm.
Then there is law and order. The BJP has waved a list of more than 120 saffron workers and managers killed by TMC men in recent times. Disturbing images of young men being killed and hanging from trees haunt voters. A young couple and their 6-year-old son were slaughtered because the husband, RSS activist Bondhu Prakash Pal, opposed the construction of a mosque next to his house.
Horrific rapes grab the headlines. A 16-year-old was recently gang-raped several times in Jalpaiguri, killed and thrown into a septic tank. His body was found a week later. The gang rape and murder of another minor sparked massive protests in northern Dinajpur.
And finally, the self-imposed “Muslim appeasement” insult Banerjee will be hard to erase. Her current political adviser, Prashant Kishor, is said to have asked her to moderate her hitherto brazen Muslim voting policy and offer stipends to Hindu priests as she has done with imams and muezzins, but this could be too little too late.
A spate of NIA arrests of Al Qaeda sleeper cells in Murshidabad shows the kind of protection and penetration jihadists have enjoyed in the state. During the CAA protests, parts of Bengal burned down. Hundreds of buses, several trains and stations were set on fire by Islamist crowds. The lawyers just watched.
In Calcutta, the common anecdote is that if you wear a helmet, the cops can still catch you; but if you wear a skullcap, you can break almost any traffic law.
Add to that her recent flirtation with the Maoists, which she had forcefully contained after coming to power. The wife of Naxal’s leader, Chhatradhar Mahato, has a job and apparently a deal is underway. Bengal has a new specter on the horizon – the coming together of Islamist and Maoist forces to defeat the BJP. A very dark and explosive cocktail.
It’s not that Banerjee failed on all fronts. His government’s projects like Kanyashree, Sabuj Sathi, Khadya Sathi are popular. Parts of the state have seen large-scale road and infrastructure construction.
But it may not be enough. Banerjee’s baggage list is too long. And a confident BJP, having tasted blood with their success in the 2019 election, will not let even a single piece of baggage be lost to voters.
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