I am neither a political pundit nor a soothsayer; only a not-so-successful businessman who has lived a large part of his 50 years in West Bengal. With this caveat, I feel that the TMC will win a resounding victory. And Hon’ble Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will view it as a vindication of her policies and actions of the last five years. That it isn’t the case is something, regrettably, she will not comprehend. It might even make her party folk more brazen.
This is not to take away from the work done in the villages: cycles, better roads, subsidised rice, more seats in colleges for the minorities. Guess, I’m digressing. The way I see it, the Congress-Left combine will not result in the arithmetical addition of their individual numbers. Some of the party loyalists will opt for NOTA or even migrate in anger and frustration. And to top this, every vote for the BJP in our first-past-the-post electoral system helps the ruling TMC.
Chances of Victory
Assuming even a low 7 to 8 percent for the BJP, that’s still 7 to 8 percent helping TMC and taking away support from the jot (alliance). Now were there a mahajot of the Bihar model, it might have been a different story. But then there’s no recognised charismatic leader that’s on offer to compete with Mamata.
Some political pundits tell me that there will be a rural/urban divide and the TMC will win hands down in rural Bengal, not doing well in urban areas – far fewer urban seats in any case. Urban Bengal may punish her for Sarada and Narada and there may well be an erosion of the victory margin. But that’s not much consolation to the loser!
Others bring up the Muslim vote, and say:
a) it’s still en block decided by three leading lights, and TMC has those “worthies” taped.
b) it’s the deciding vote across West Bengal, given a population of near 30 percent (even higher voting percentage); certainly the decisive/swing vote in over 150 constituencies, if not more.
c) Minorities typically fear for their safety and well-being.
The BJP hasn’t quite endeared themselves in assuaging this concern and the ruling party is usually the best bet to support, more so with the local police and goons in their control. We do live in interesting times and I await the fate of my state on 19 May. I, as always, will vote for the Left, even though I’m oft reminded that those in their 20s who aren’t Leftist don’t have a heart; those in their 50s, still Left, don’t have a brain!