Mamta Banerjee wins

Mamta thrashes Modi, Amit Shah

TMC wins landslide, Mamta loses nandigram

India’s only woman chief minister Mamata Banerjee wins the 2021 West Bengal state elections. She has done what looked unthinkable only weeks agao. Under her leadership, the TMC has swept the West Bengal assembly polls of 2021 for a third (after 2011, 2016) time, winning 213 out of the 292 West Bengal Assembly seats. Mamta Banerjee has lost her own election fight against BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram. That showed no bearing on her when she addressed the people of West Bengal, post election.

“It is the victory of the people of Bengal, the victory of democracy. Bengal has saved India today. This landslide victory came after fighting against several odds — the Centre, its machinery, its agencies. This victory has saved the humanity,” Mamta Banerjee said.

Mamta who was first declared victorious by 1200 votes by some news channels – after gaining lead of 1200 votes having trailed behind her rival BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari for quite some time during the count.

The TMS supporters had claimed victory of Mamta in Nandigram while some last booths remained. And when the count completed, Mamta trailed and lost by 1600 votes. Not surprisingly, the TMC has sought a recount.

Whether the recount changes the result or not, Mamta is the only TMC candidate expected to take oath as West Bengal’s CM. The constitution of India allows a non member to be sworn in as minister and chief minister as required provided they return to the house within six months of the date of taking the oath, as within  — as an elected member after contesting and winning an election from any constituency within the state.

Mamta has a long list of loyalists who would be more than willing to give up their seat to win Mamta Didi’s heart and some prized position/.contract/business deal etc.

“Khela Haube” (or the game will take place) she had declared when the electioneering commenced in West Bengal and, yes the game took place, but the mighty combo of Modi and Shah just capitulated facing her on ground. Mamta played everything and every card – the victim, the aggressor, the Hindu, the Muslim, the Bangladeshi and above all – state versus the centre, which proved more lethal than anything else.

BJP on the other hand was marred by their over reliance on the face of Modi and Shah and the chants of “Jai Shri Ram” which failed to unite the Hindu vote, if not evoking the Hindu sentiment.

“The biggest miscalculation on the part of BJP was their decision not to install a local face, to face off Mamta Banerjee. In that context, the visits of Modi and Shah created an artificial layer of “central interference and remote controlling of the region” giving the local stakeholders an image of powerlessness and thus inability to fulfil any promises they had to make to win the grassroots votes”, said Dinesh Malhotra, editor of Bharat Times, commenting on the election outcome.

The BJP has increased its foothold in West Bengal politics. From its 3 seats in 2016, it has won 78 seats, a huge leap forward but nowhere near enough to form government which requires 147 or more.

Also read: Is it the end of Rahul Gandhi’s dynasty appeal?

There are many lessons for the BJP in this, and much more for the TMC to watch and re-arm themselves for first 2024 (centre government elections) and then 2026, the next state elections.

And this is by far the biggest loss of political capital for the Congress party which voluntarily vacated the territory for the TMC and the BJP conceding defeat well before the polling phases began.

For those disappointed BJP supporters in India and across the world, particularly for the diehard fans of Modi, in this election Mamta, although only a regional leader, has single-handedly defeated India’s two of the most powerful leaders of the ruling party – Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.

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