Thursday, June 20, 2024
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Amit Shah in West Bengal

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s political right hand and President of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Amit Shah was in West Bengal for the first time. The manner in which Shah carved the way for the BJP’s victory in the Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh has made him a formidable political force. His visit to West Bengal accordingly was not without significance. Until recently, the BJP hardly had a presence in the state. But Shah made it a talking point capitalizing on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s failure to fulfill the promise of change in the state. The traditional adversaries, the Left and the Congress, had been ineffective in their opposition to the Trinamul Congress. Shah launched an aggressive offensive against the West Bengal Chief Minister, especially targeting the Sardha scam. It reminded one of Mamata Banerjee’s tirade against the Left Front government’s acquisition of land at Singur and VP Singh’s attack on Rajiv Gandhi over the Bofors issue which led to Rajiv Gandhi’s defeat.

The BJP had for some time been making slow but steady progress in West Bengal. It won two Lok Sabha seats and increased its vote share significantly in the Parliamentary elections. Now the BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is in power at the Centre. How Amit Shah guides his party in West Bengal needs to be watched. The Left is demoralized and the Trinamul is in trouble. Of course, the BJP in West Bengal has a long way to go. However, it has weaned away supporters from the Left and the Trinamul. At the moment, the BJP can hardly be a challenge to the Trinamul Congress. It has therefore taken a devious route, hinting at a secret alliance between the TMC and the CPI (M) though it seems palpably absurd. But who knows?

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