Bengal tigress Mamata Banerjee overtrumps Hindutva card

Express News Service
KOLKATA:  Notwithstanding the shrill pitch of “Jai Shri Ram” and BJP heavyweights Narendra Modi and Amit Shah leading the opposition rallies, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee had the last laugh with her plan of portraying herself as the daughter of West Bengal pitted against outsiders striking a chord with the voters. 

Polls were held in eight phases but when the results came in it became clear that the saffron party was nowhere near its ambitious target of 200 seats.

Unlike the 2019 LS elections, the ghost of anti-incumbency failed to spook Didi and her government.  

Mamata tactfully sat down after the 2019 debacle to unleash a plethora of sops mixed with a healthy dose of populism.

Multiple factors worked in favour of Mamata, which include complete consolidation of minority vote-bank, massive support of women electorates, her pre-election ventures of giving health insurance cards to all citizens and setting up government camps in localities across Bengal to offer services.

Mamata Banerjee emerged out of her house Kalighat residence and greeted the party supporters assembled in front of her house.

“This is Bengal’s victory. Today, Bengal has saved India. They talked out double-engine government in Bengal. We have crossed double century mark. We didn’t expect landslide victory at some places.’’

On the day of her party’s remarkable victory, Mamata hit out at the centre on Covid-19 vaccination issue. ‘’The central government should give vaccines to all 140 crore people free of cost. If they don’t, I will stage sit-in-demonstration.’’

Eyeing to consolidate 70 per cent of Hindu electorates, the BJP tried the card ofd polarisation accusing Mamata of going all out to appease one community. In retaliation, Mamata branded the BJP as a party of outsiders.

“Our Hindutva rhetoric went against us. The narrative proved futile as the Hindu electorates not at all voted for us en bloc. Instead, it panicked the minority electorates and they got consolidated in favour of the TMC completely. As a result, the Congress’s and Left Front’s vote share shifted to the fold of the ruling party,’’ said a BJP leader.

The leader admitted that the promise of building Sonar Bangla faded in front of Mamata’s aggressive tact of outsider versus insider plank.

“She kept asserting that our national leaders are talking about building Sonar Bangla when they cannot even pronounce two Bengali words properly. Besides, she coined a slogan of Bangla Nijer Meyeke Chay (Bengal wants its own daughter). This narrative worked,’’ he said. 

Mamata expressed her gratitude to the women electorates who form 49 per cent of the total electorate. “Her (Mamata’s) decision of giving health insurance cards covering all citizens of the state, irrespective of financial status, was aimed to woo the women voters.”