Mamata saved TMC’s stronghold in West Bengal on her own strength

The Uncut

Kolkata. Mamata Banerjee’s ‘magic’ worked once again for the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal and the party won 29 out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state. Not only this, TMC pushed the BJP down from the last time’s 18 seats to just 12. The BJP got less than 39 percent of the votes.

Although Didi credited the people of the state for the victory and described the election results as “a slap from the people to the opponents of Bengal”. But there is no doubt that Mamata’s political charisma, her image of a combative leader who fights on the streets and her fierce opposition to the BJP worked much more in maintaining the faith of her supporters. This helped her almost repeat the party’s 2021 state assembly election performance despite the anti-incumbency wave.

Apart from Banerjee’s personal popularity, what helped her retain the victory was the ‘beneficiary politics’ she actively pursued during her tenure in the state. This mitigated the opposition’s allegations of massive corruption and anti-incumbency wave. Beneficiaries of projects like ‘Laxmi Bhandar’ and ‘Kanyashree’ also supported Banerjee in a big way.

She ignored the fact that several leaders of the TMC chief are in jail, central investigative agencies are clamping down on her nephew Abhishek Banerjee and many others, and there is a ban on central funds, which has allegedly derailed the state’s welfare schemes. In the process, she openly played the victim card and promoted her image as the protector of the people of the state from “outsiders”.

The 2014 Lok Sabha elections were the best part of Banerjee’s political career when she won 34 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats. She will perhaps be best remembered for successfully resisting the BJP’s massive influence in the 2021 state assembly elections, which went all out with an unprecedented campaign. Banerjee’s relentless campaigning (much of which she conducted from a wheelchair due to an injury she reportedly suffered during her campaign in Nandigram) and electoral strategies designed by the party’s election consultancy agency led to the TMC winning 215 seats and restricting the BJP to 77.

Though the BJP managed to win several times more seats than its previous tally of three and establish itself as the sole opposition in the Assembly, Banerjee and Abhishek were credited with dealing a blow to the BJP’s political aspirations in the state. But the current Lok Sabha election will be remembered for Mamata single-handedly saving her bastion in West Bengal.

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