India: Rallies to heat up BJP-Trinamool battle

  • Swords are drawn for the battle for West Bengal with chief minister Mamata Banerjee working hard to protect her turf even as the BJP tries to convert the erstwhile ‘Red’ state into a saffron one. This is the first time that battle-lines are being drawn between TMC and its one-time ally, the BJP, in Bengal which has traditionally witnessed a triangular fight between the TMC, CPM and Congress.
  • Rallies, rath yatras and public addresses have been lined up by the political parties well ahead of time.
  • While Mamata will address the rally on 19 Jan 19, Modi will hold the meeting on 23 Jan 19. This will be the first ever public meeting of Modi in Kolkata after he assumed office. According to sources in BJP, the party decided on the same venue as PM’s rally is going to be a show of strength for BJP.
  • “Bengal has always been a challenge for us. We conquered Assam and then Tripura, but entering Bengal was not easy. Even though, Bengal is the land where Jan Sangh was born, the Communist rule here changed the psyche of Bengalis. But now, we have made significant inroads here. We have gained people’s faith. The common notion about BJP has changed,” said Kailash Vijayvargiya, BJP’s national general secretary.
  • Meanwhile, the support base for the Congress and Communist party has been waning in Bengal. The Congress, which had 44 MLAs, is now left with 30 MLAs while others have defected to Trinamool Congress. Even as Mamata Banerjee continues to blame the Congress for its different stand in Bengal and in Delhi, her Trinamool Congress continues to poach into the Congress.
  • The Communist party’s vote bank has also been dwindling with every election. Going by the vote share, one can see that percentage in increased vote share for BJP is equal to percentage of decreased vote share for CPM.

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