My previous analysis on the Bengal Assemble Election on March 18, 2021, was based on various opinion polls up to March, 15, 2021. In Indian politics, especially during the election period, things change pretty rapidly. As West Bengal is one of the high voltage contesting grounds where both the BJP and TMC have employed all-out efforts to win the election, changes to the political mood of people is nothing but natural. Some more opinion polls have come out since then. I am providing an up-to-date opinion poll summary below.
If you can remember from my previous article, I had considered polls up to March 15. In an opinion poll on March 8, the ABP-CNX agency surveyed that the TMC, BJP, Left Front and others will get 42%, 34%, 20% and 4% vote share respectively. However, their March 23 poll survey says that the TMC, BJP, Left Front and others will get 40%, 38%, 16% and 6% vote share respectively.
This means that within a 15-day period, the TMC lost 2% of its vote share, whereas the BJP gained 4% more. At the same time, the Left front lost 4% vote share and others gained 2%. I think the BJP may take away the 4% vote share of the Left Front plus Congress, and the TMC might lose its 2% vote share to others (including AIMIM and some other small parties). But the point remains that the BJP is in a gaining spree whereas the TMC has started losing its vote share despite its Wheelchair campaign by Mamata Banerjee.
The ‘India News-Jan Ki Baat’ opinion poll gives the BJP 44.8% vote share, with the TMC getting 44.1% vote share. That means according to this poll, the BJP is a bit ahead of the TMC, whereas the Left Front and others are losing further of their vote share. The ‘Patriotic Voter’ opinion poll provides that the BJP will get 41% vote share compared to the TMC’s 40% vote share.
That means this opinion poll also says that both the BJP and TMC are neck and neck with an advantage to the BJP. I didn’t include other opinion polls that didn’t provide vote share in their surveys. My basic analysis is always based on vote shares and I never trust their prediction of the number of seats. The C-Voter opinion poll hasn’t come yet, but as it’s a tracker-based opinion poll, there might not any changes as of now from its previous data.
Thus, having all that information, I conclude as of now that the BJP may win the West Bengal Assembly Election 2021 with a clear majority. The reasons as follows.
1. In a closely contested election, it’s always seen that the party whose vote share keep increasing during the opinion polls finally becomes the largest vote-share holder against the party or alliance whose vote share is either stagnated or decreasing. In this case, the TMC has started losing its vote shares. Thus, I believe that in this month-long election process, the vote share of the TMC will keep reducing.
2. No opinion poll had said that the ISF is denting the TMC’s Muslim vote share. That means the minority vote share of the TMC is intact. Not only that, in various TV programmes, minority communities have openly declared their support to Mamata Banerjee. Such open polarisitation of a community can sometimes become counter-productive. In West Bengal, the open support of the minorities to the TMC may become a boomerang to Banerjee because whenever there’s a minority polarisation, a counter-polarisation of the majority occurs. It happened in UP, Bihar and many polities. This is a standard political consequence. I think Banerjee realises this, too. That’s why she is repeating that she’s a Hindu Beti and chants chandipath. She’s assured of minority votes but apprehends losing the majority (read Hindu) votes.
Many experts say that silent voters are important in Bengal polity (I always feel that they are important in any polity). But in case of Bengal, it’s considered that women are the silent voters. In which direction will they go? Before deliberating on this, let me clearly and unequivocally say that Banerjee is the tallest leader of West Bengal at this moment. She can be considered Bengal pride. But then, West Bengal is also one of the states where Narendra Modi enjoys the highest popularity.
This means that among women and some youths, there will be a persona contest between Modi and Banerjee. As this is a state assembly election, Banerjee should have the upper hand when it comes to the support of silent voters. But she’s making a cardinal mistake of attacking Modi unrelentingly, using harsh and ugly words. When people are a supporter of both the leaders and one leader uses abusive language against the other, then the sympathies and supports always go to the one whose name is being abused, Modi in this case. This was proved in the last Bihar election. Thus, Mamata Didi’s strategy of abusing Modi may cost dearer to her in the coming days.
3. There’s a tendency among Indian voters to always go with the emerging party at the last moment. The BJP appears to have a sense that they are at a striking distance to win the election. In such a case, the BJP generally deploys all its assets and indulges in intense campaigning. We have seen the BJP’s intense campaigning during Hyderabad Municipal election where Amit Shah and JP Nadda campaigned and the BJP really won a tremendous number of 48 seats.
If the Union Home Minister and party President of a national party campaign in a municipal poll, then definitely, the party assessed that there’s a chance of a huge gain. Similarly, intense campaigning of the BJP in West Bengal proves that their assessment of a chance to win is higher. At the same time, the TMC’s frustration, anger and constant attack on Modi indicates that they are losing ground. And such confidence and frustrations always influences the ordinary, neutral and silent voters.
Thus, a long eight-phase voting schedule will benefit the BJP and its vote share will go on increasing. On the other hand, Banerjee’s desperation and furious attack on Modi will ensure that whoever the silent voters wanted to vote for, the TMC will either abstain or vote to the BJP.
Having said this, I again put a caveat. Opinion polls always show the mood of the polity. The real election is won or lost at polling booths. That means the party or alliance that is able to bring their supporters/voters to the polling booth in higher numbers will win the booth. In Bengal polity, it’s common that the dominant booth level worker not only brings their supporters but also prevents/stops doubtful or rival-party voters to come to the polling booth by threatening them. Although the Election Commission has made it an eight-phased election, deploying a lot of Central force, yet, it’s observed that many people despite having complained against a party usually don’t go to the polling booth apprehending violence during or even after the election.
At the ground level, the TMC workers are very organised, although the BJP is catching up and accommodating many of quitters from the TMC as well as other parties such as the Left cadres. So, it’s like this: win more polling booths to win a seat.
Let’s see what happens.
My money is on the BJP now. Where’s yours?