Mamata Banerjee In A Fix Over Supporting Yashwant Sinha Against Draupadi Murmu

by Nishtha Anushree - Jul 8, 2022 09:23 AM +05:30 IST
Mamata Banerjee In A Fix Over Supporting Yashwant Sinha Against Draupadi MurmuMamata Banerjee and Yashwant Sinha

Mamata Banerjee has asked Yashwant Sinha not to come to West Bengal to campaign for the presidential polls.

Banerjee fears rubbing the state’s estimated 52.9 lakh tribals, who make up about 6 per cent of Bengal’s population, the wrong way.

  • NDA candidate Draupadi Murmu is a tribal and opposing her would anger Bengal’s tribals.

  • Tribal support is decisive in the electoral outcomes of at least 35 assembly constituencies in Purulia, West Midnapore, and Jhargram districts and parts of Bankura and Birbhum. This area is known as Jangalmahal.

Electoral history: The BJP had secured the support of Jangalmahal tribals in the 2019 polls, which helped the party bag 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats.

  • Since then, Banerjee has been assiduously trying to wean away the tribals from the BJP and her welfare measures for them bore fruit in last year’s assembly polls.

  • The Trinamool bagged 13 of the 15 seats in West Midnapore, all four seats in Jhargram, and 10 of the eleven seats in Birbhum.

  • But it could get only three of the nine seats in Purulia and four of the 12 seats in Bankura.

Banerjee in a fix: The West Bengal CM tried to blame the BJP, saying that she would have supported Murmu’s candidature if she was informed earlier and would have discussed it with other opposition parties as well.

  • However, many wonder what stopped Banerjee from asking Sinha to withdraw from the contest after the announcement.

  • Banerjee also cannot withdraw support from Sinha and declare support for Murmu as she will lose face in the opposition camp.

Banerjee is trying to distance herself from Sinha. She asked Sinha to stay away because she would have had to roll out the red carpet for him, which would not have gone down well with the tribals of the state.

  • Banerjee hopes that by not appearing to support Sinha publicly while at the same time speaking well of Murmu, she will be able to keep the tribals happy.

  • At the same time, she wants to maintain her image as a fearless crusader against the BJP by continuing to support Sinha.

What the BJP did: After the electoral setback in Jangalmahal last year, the BJP launched intensive efforts to woo back the tribals.

  • The BJP has already launched a campaign in Jangalmahal targeting Banerjee for not supporting Murmu.

  • Banerjee tried to position herself as a ‘national leader’ by taking the lead in rallying the non-BJP parties to prop up a candidate, but the BJP checkmated her.

Read in full: Apprehensive Of Annoying Tribals, Mamata Banerjee Asks Opposition Prez Pick Yashwant Sinha To Keep Away From Bengal

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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