Bengal ki beti has been popularised as a slogan to impress and inspire the minds and hearts of the ordinary Bengal electorate. Taking out a leaf from it, the decision by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to contest from Nandigram has been acknowledged and appreciated by the TMC workers, cadres and supporters as a closely and consciously worked-out decision. Didi can’t afford to take her once-upon-trusted lieutenant Suvendu Adhikari so lightly when, at the very instance, he is daring to throw an electoral challenge at didi.
Adhikari has a considerable clout and dominance on this East Medinipur district of Bengal. He was a key pointsman, strategist, campaigner and spokesperson for didi during the Nandigram agitation, bringing curtains down on the 34 Left rule in the state. He is credited for didi’s clean and comfortable victory in 2011 and 2016 that transformed Mamata from a street fighter always willing to take up people’s questions securing their welfare, well-being and dignity.
But as the tables have turned, Suvendu Adhikari is is no mood to go back on his decision of associating himself with the right-wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), it will be interesting to watch how this key electoral fight progresses towards its conclusion. The BJP has began mocking and ridiculing Mamata for contesting on her Bhabanipur seat in South Bengal as a strategy for riding on anti-incumbency and discontent against her in a bid to mobilise and consolidate votes.
This would also aid and assist the BJP into religiously polarising the population of the state. Mind you, Nandigram has a majority Hindu population and for the BJP to appeal to them, it would be important for them to address and articulate their grievances wisely and willingly, as they have been doing while conducting Namasudra and Matua an important schedule caste community in the state. Accommodating and adjusting it with their rhetoric and propaganda against the 30% Muslim population of the state, the BJP believes that Mamata has been giving unnecessary privileges and perks to the Muslims for organising them into effective vote bank. This is visible in her concessions being made to them during the events marking Muharram processions. Shouldn’t Hindus be equally allowed to observe their faith, codes and customs?
It is with this assumption that an ascendant BJP is staring at the scope of doing a Tripura in Bengal, come what may. Defections and desertions are all part of the project to force people to believe their eyes and ears as whatever they see is far more real. It was good that the Saradha and Narada scams took place, otherwise the true face of Suvendu Adhikari and Mukul Roy could never have been made public.
So what if they were zealous in joining the BJP for the want of honour and return. No, they are mistaken for a pride and place as it was under didi that they were able to sharply extend and expand themselves. I don’t think Shah and Nadda are going to grant them that space as they are geniuses in doing a turnaround.
If didi wins Nandigram, which she will, and returns to power, then these very leaders will resort to bargain and posture for making their comeback in the ranks and files of the TMC. It has to been if didi will concede to them as, at present, the political scenario looks scattered with the Left alliance wanting to take a good chunk of Mamata’s minority votes. The BJP is all set to make a grand entry with a decent tally, but whether it will be able to try its hands in power is open for everyone’s speculation. Who knows, Khela Hobe.