The 2021 West Bengal Elections – An analysis – Part-1

The stage is set and all political parties are ready to lock horns in West Bengal elections 2021

The stage is set and all political parties are ready to lock horns in West Bengal elections 2021
The stage is set and all political parties are ready to lock horns in West Bengal elections 2021

All eyes on the upcoming 2021 West Bengal elections

In recent memory, no state assembly elections have received so much attention from the national media as the upcoming West Bengal elections 2021. I sense an uncanny resemblance of the political mood in the common population of Bengal when ironically the ruling party Trinamool Congress (TMC) led by Mamata Banerjee came into power in 2011 after 34 years of communist misrule in Bengal riding on the wave of huge popular support and massive anti-incumbency. The current ruling dispensation of Bengal back in 2011 had won the mandate with the overwhelming majority promising a new future for Bengal which unfortunately has remained a promise not yet fulfilled. In this series of short articles, I would try to provide a step by step objective analysis of the upcoming elections, the burning issues & aspirations that concern the masses, and also shed some light as to why this election can very well turn out to be a watershed moment in the history of Bengal.

To provide a brief context and to build up the analysis, it is worthwhile to mention the geographical diversity of West Bengal. Bengal is blessed with the hilly North Bengal (“Duars or Dooars”) regions, to Gangetic plains of Malda & Murshidabad, to the dusty towns of “Rarh” Bengal, and finally to coastal Bengal & “Jungle Mahal”. Each region brings with it a unique set of political issues, demands that require separate treatment and analysis which I would try to cover in subsequent articles to the best of my ability.

This final section of this 1st in a series of articles will discuss the leaders in the fray leading their respective political parties. The TMC is led by their supremo “Mamata Banerjee” who is the current Cheif Minister (CM) & who is vying for a 3rd term as CM.

Major political parties which are locked in a fierce battle to win Bengal

This section discusses the major political parties in which are locked in a fierce battle to win the mandate in Bengal. To start, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) currently has 211 out of 294 assembly seats with almost 45% vote share if we go by the 2016 assembly election stats which might paint a different picture than the currently popular mood among the people. The major opponent to TMC is the nationalist Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) which has seen a huge surge in popularity where its vote percentage has risen to 41% (up by 22.5%) if we go by the trends of 2019 general elections. The 3rd front if it can be called colloquially is the weird alliance of convenience between the Indian National Congress (INC), the India Secular Front (ISF) ironically led by a communal Islamic cleric, and finally, the Left parties in Bengal which itself is facing an existential crisis with its vote share at a meager 6%.

Leaders in the fray leading their respective political parties

This final section of this 1st in a series of articles will discuss the leaders in the fray leading their respective political parties. The TMC is led by their supremo “Mamata Banerjee” who is the current Cheif Minister (CM) & who is vying for a 3rd term as CM. The issue with TMC is that it is a one-woman show with no one who can be considered a distant second. The next leader in the fray is “Dilip Ghosh” from BJP who the current BJP state president of Bengal and under whose able leadership, BJP has gained tremendous momentum and public support, especially in the north & rural Bengal. Apart from that BJP has an abundance of other notable leaders including “Mukul Roy“, “Suvendu Adhikari“, “Swapan Dasgupta“, “Babul Supriyo” to name a few. The 3rd front mainly has 3 leaders with “Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury” leading the state INC, the Islamic cleric “Pirzada Abbas Siddiqui” leading the so-called secular ISF, and the Left being led by their Bengal chairman “Biman Bose“.

In next article will cover the different regions of Bengal where I will try to delve deep into the issues pertinent to those regions in particular.

To be continued…

Note:
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

Kalyan Ghosh
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