Why is Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee so wary of the BJP? Why is she so relentlessly attacking it in every election rally? Why is she asking voters not to cast even a single vote in favour of the BJP?
For Ms Banerjee, the stakes in the ongoing Assembly elections are extremely high. She believes that she is on the threshold of power in West Bengal and apprehends that if anyone can play spoilsport, it is the BJP.
“The CPI(M) and BJP are bhai bhai. The former has invited the BJP to divide our vote. Casting a vote for BJP means giving a vote to the Left Front,” she has repeatedly told the people.
A close analysis of the last Lok Sabha election results show that Ms Banerjee’s fears are not unfounded. The Trinamul Congress which won 19 seats could have won six more had the BJP not eaten into the anti-Left vote. The Left Front whose score came down from 35 to 15 Lok Sabha seats would have also lost Coochbehar, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Balurghat, Midnapore and Burdwan had the BJP not come to their rescue. So, is it correct that the sole purpose of the BJP in contesting the polls is to help the Left Front? “It is utter rubbish. The BJP and the CPI(M) are ideological adversaries. We cannot even think of helping the communists,” said BJP national spokesperson and co-incharge of Bengal Siddhartha Nath Singh.
Then why did the BJP field candidates in 290 of the 294 Assembly constituencies? “We realised that Left Front would be voted out of power. At a time when the Left is on its way out it is natural that the right should try to occupy the space especially when a large section of voters is also disillusioned with the Trinamul Congress. Our objective is two-fold: to open our account in the Assembly and to increase our vote share,” he added.
Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley told a gathering in Mandirtala in Howrah that BJP would produce an impressive result this time. “A sizeable number of our candidates will win,” he predicted.
To canvas vote for party candidates, the entire galaxy of BJP leaders descended on Bengal. L.K. Advani, Narendra Modi, Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh, Syed Shahnawaz Hussain and Hema Malini extensively campaigned for the BJP.
“The reason these stalwarts campaigned in Bengal was their belief that the BJP would notch up impressive results in this election,” Mr Singh added.
The BJP leaders had earlier planned to attack only Left Front and spare Trinamul Congress. However, later they changed the strategy and started targeting their one-time ally with equal force. Ms Banerjee also returned the fire. The BJP leaders claim that in nearly 36 seats (mainly in North Bengal, Nadia, Birbhum and Kolkata and suburbs), their party will give both Left Front and Trinamul Congress a run for their money. The BJP may not win more than a couple of seats but it can adversely affect Trinamul Congress’ poll prospects in a number of constituencies. Little wonder, Ms Banerjee has targeted the BJP with such vehemence in this election. Asian Age