Acche Din Coming For The BJP In West Bengal?

by Ujjawal Mishra - Sep 14, 2022 06:49 PM +05:30 IST
Acche Din Coming For The BJP In West Bengal?Scene from a BJP meeting in West Bengal (Twitter)

The enthusiasm surrounding the "nabanna chalo" rally may be signalling better fortunes for the BJP in West Bengal.

Context: In response to the rampant corruption and general maladministration in Bengal, the BJP held a march on 13 September.

  • The protest rally to nabanna, or state secretariat, was met with uncharacteristic violence from state police.

  • Several protesters were grievously injured in the police crackdown.

  • Despite the police brutality, the BJP will see Tuesday's events as a sign of good things to come.

Confidence in BJP cadres: The protestors, several of whom were saffron-clad, were chanting ‘Jai Shree Ram’ slogans, of which Mamata Banerjee isn't particularly fond.

  • Those who weren't permitted by state police to gather in Kolkata held their ground at railway stations and bus terminals.

  • This shows that party workers are finally trusting the leadership.

  • Previously, workers may have felt that they were left to fend for themselves in the post-poll violence.

Good attendance: The rally was attended by thousands of BJP workers and supporters. This is significant because:

  • TMC cadres had gone on a state-wide rampage after their sweeping victory in the 2021 assembly elections.

  • BJP workers were beaten, their homes vandalised, and their properties burnt. Several supporters were even killed.

  • Tuesday's showing means that people have overcome the fear of the Trinamool.

Growing mass support: The confidence of the BJP cadres to take on the Trinamool is based on what they are hearing from the grassroots.

  • There is a steady rise in support for the BJP among Bengal’s masses, especially in rural and semi-urban areas. 

  • Many who had distanced themselves from the BJP or left the party after last year’s elections have started making their way back.

Disenchantment with Trinamool earlier, now disgust.

  • Trinamool’s infamous culture of ‘cut money’, extortion, and corruption has forced Bengalis to look for an alternative.

Trinamool's corruption: The amassing of wealth by even lower-level Trinamool functionaries, who enjoy lavish lifestyles, has contributed to the overall dislike.

  • Recently, party functionaries, several of whom are known to be close to Banerjee, were arrested.

  • Mounds of cash, valuables, and documents proving their ownership of lands and properties were recovered, further intensifying disgust against Trinamool.

  • Misappropriation of funds for schemes like rural employment guarantee, housing for poor, and rural road construction has led to the Union government halting disbursal of funds for these schemes.

Bengal's economic woes: Corruption and economic development seldom go hand in hand.

  • Jobs are scarce.

  • With Banerjee’s failure to attract investment, especially big-ticket investment, unemployment is on to rise.

  • The lakhs of Bengalis working in other states return with tales of affluence, ease of living, and freedom they enjoy there.

  • Such things fuel anger among the masses over the sad state of affairs in Bengal.

Mamata's appeasement: The Trinamool's pampering of Muslims, whether in paying clerics or in their disproportionate representation in her administration, has alienated Hindus.

  • Muslims are accorded priority in welfare schemes, jobs, and favours doled out by the ruling party.

But... wait a minute. None of this is to say that Mamata Banerjee's government is about to fall.

  • Times ahead won't be smooth for the BJP, either.

  • If, however, the BJP can capitalise on the momentum of Tuesday’s rally, it can begin to reverse its fortunes in the state going forward.

Ujjawal Mishra is a Staff Writer at Swarajya. He tweets @Ujjawal1Mishra.
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