Riding on the “Jai Shri Ram” slogan, the BJP also made a significant dent in the green bastion of chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s party.
Kolkata: Devastating the Trinamul Congress’ appeasement politics with its weapon of votebank polarisation on a nationalist tone, the BJP scripted history yet again in the Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal by surpassing its past tally of two in the state. Till the last reports on Thursday evening, the results’ trends show the saffron party surging in 18 constituencies out of 42, that is an all-time record if it is confirmed once the counting ends. Many of these seats are in the Jangalmahal tribal belt and in North Bengal.
Riding on the “Jai Shri Ram” slogan, the BJP also made a significant dent in the green bastion of chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s party, which won 34 Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 elections. It has successfully encashed on the anti-incumbency factor and claims of nepotism and corruption that have struck the TMC in the past decade, as it became the dominant force in the state after the CPI(M)-led Left Front.
On the impact of the polarisation of votebanks against appeasement politics, state BJP general secretary (organisation) Subrato Chattopdhyay told this newspaper: “It definitely worked. Didn’t people see a chief minister calling ‘Jai Shri Ram’ an abuse? Have they not seen any corruption here? They have. The young generation is really angry over appeasement politics. Both Hindus and Muslims are anguished over this minority appea-sement.”
Mr Chattopdhyay added: “They don’t want any appeasement and honorariums for maulanas and maulvis. They need jobs and development.” He also dismissed talk about the shifting of the Left votebank to the BJP. “The Trinamul got votes which had earlier belonged to the Left. Now the votes have shifted again. Voters are not slaves that they will stick to one party forever. The people of West Bengal dethroned the CPI(M) in the state to restore peace and democracy, and to bring an end to corruption.”
Mr Chattopadhyay added: “But in the past eight years, Trinamul doubled it. That is why the people wanted to get rid of them. Besides, an environment of snatching personal rights and no criticism of the government was created. People also saw the brutal slaughter of our workers since the panchayat polls. This created a wind in our favour... There was a Modi wave in 2014 too. But we failed to tap it then as the organisation was not strong. Now we have plugged in gaps here.”
Echoing him, state BJP joint secretary (organisation) Kishore Burman observed: “Jai Shri Ram is not a temporary slogan. It has been associated with Indian culture for thousands of years. Insulting the slogan is like dishonouring the nation. The people of Bengal naturally didn’t tolerate it. They gave their reply in votes. We don’t treat voters from a majority or minority angle. Our programmes are not based on any particular religion.”
He added: “We have garnered a sizeabale chunk of minority votes, which is why this success came. Once the total results are out, we will conduct a survey and do comparisons later.”