“Lok Sabha Polls In Bengal Neck And Neck Contest”: Political Analysts

Bengal is one of the very few states where the BJP is putting up a fierce fight against a strong regional party, the Trinamool Congress, Sanjay Singh of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies said.

The BJP has fought against the Congress in several states and even defeated it in most states, but it is facing strong opposition from the ruling Trinamool Congress in Bengal and putting up a formidable fight, he said.

“I think it’s a neck and neck fight in Bengal. There was just a 3% difference between the BJP and the TMC in 2019. Even the difference between the number of seats won by the two was not very significant – BJP won 18, while the Trinamool won 22. 

“A minuscule 2% change can have a huge impact. If the BJP manages to gain by 2-3%, the Trinamool will end up losing nearly seven seats. And if the opposite happens and the BJP loses around 4%, it will be reduced to single digits in the state. Let’s see what happens,” he said.

Senior journalist and BJP leader Swapan Dasgupta echoed him and said, “Journalists love it when there’s a neck and neck fight. Caste became a thing in the polls for the first time in 2019. Before that, the dominant narrative of the CPIM was of class – the working class, the struggling masses, etc. Those were very important lessons. But when the BJP started winning north Bengal and the jungle mahals, that’s when the issue of community was first assumed. The focus moved to Matuas. Kurmis became an important factor. Since 1971, no national party has ever won a majority of seats in the Lok Sabha from Bengal.”

Speaking about the violence in the state before, during, and after most elections, Mr Dasgupta said, “It is a great legacy left by the great Communists. Political violence of this scale is not only something that the Communists introduced, but the intellectuals of the Communists glorified. Even the Trinamool was a victim of this in the days it was fighting the CPIM. Today, those rough and ready methods unfortunately have become the new normal in Bengal. This is something, regardless of which side you are on, there has to be some sort of unanimity that this violence should stop. Entire society gets vitiated.”

Bengal is witnessing a predominant BJP vs Trinamool fight. However, the Congress and the Left are also fighting an existential battle in the state. Although the Trinamool, Congress, and the Left are all a part of the mega INDIA bloc – the Opposition alliance in the centre, in Bengal a common ground could not be reached and the three are contesting against one another.

Bengal is voting in all seven phases of the undergoing Lok Sabha elections. Votes will be counted on June 4.

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