The BJP is known for adopting a two-faced strategy vis-a-vis Mamata Banerjee, particularly ahead and during the Assembly election in the state that started on Monday (April 4). On the face of it, the BJP is targeting the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief on issues like corruption, law and order situation and struggling economy.
BJP has only spoken against Mamata so far
But when it comes to taking real action, the saffron party hasn't really shown the urgency--- be it the CBI probe's losing momentum in the Saradha chit-fund scam or the lack of interest in refering the Narada sting operation footage to the ethics committee in the Rajya Sabha.
A few days ago, when BJP chief Amit Shah said the CBI could not proceed smoothly in the Saradha scam because the state police had messed up the issue, many observers read between the lines and said it was an assurance by the BJP top brass to its TMC counterpart. The allegations of the nexus between the BJP and TMC have grown stronger irrespective of the two parties targeting each other during the election rallies. [Bengal election Phase 1A witnesses 81% turnout
By comparing Mamata with Indira Gandhi of 1977, Sushma Swaraj gave a hidden message
Last week, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj predicted that Mamata Banerjee would face a defeat in this Assembly election just like late prime minister Indira Gandhi had in 1977. At an election rally in Durgapur, Swaraj said the people of India handed over a crushing defeat to Indira Gandhi in the 1977 general election and the same consequences are awaiting Banerjee in Bengal. She said the TMC government became synonymous with corruption and the recent collapse of a flyover in Kolkata proved it. [Top candidates of April 11 poll phase]
Indira lost in 1977 but came back to power in 1980; did Sushma ridicule the anti-Mamata force's ability?
Now, was Swaraj really sending a warning message to Banerjee by likening her to Indira Gandhi of 1977? or was she actually mocking the anti-TMC alliance between the Left and Congress by likening them with the Janata alliance that had come to power in 1977 but could not survive more than three years, allowing Indira Gandhi to return to power in 1980? [Know your state this poll: Wesrt Bengal]
Logic says BJP will never like to see Mamata lose this poll
Swaraj and her party know very well that a defeat for Banerjee will not help their cause, specially ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
At a time when the BJP is seriously working on the mission to make India Congress-Mukt, it makes little sense to believe that the BJP is eagerly waiting to see Mamata Banerjee lose and make the way of the BJP getting closer to win support of the majority of the 42 Lok Sabha members from the state after the next general elections difficult. Moreover, with Banerjee having the backing of a big minority vote-bank, the BJP has little reason to annoy her. It will be wiser for her to get close to the TMC instead.
But the saffron party also has its compulsion
The BJP is not eager to play that pro-TMC game openly now because the Mamata Banerjee government is facing a strong anti-incumbency. The BJP will not want to ruin its own prospects by getting close to Banerjee now, just like the strategy it followed during the 2014 general elections. It gained by winning a big share of the anti-TMC votes that did no the Left's way (its vote-share jumped to over 17 per cent). This time, too, it would be feeling comfortable even if it can maintain that share and for that, it has to take an anti-Mamata stance in the open.
But saying Mamata Banerjee could face Indira Gandhi's fate of 1977 is a diplomatic remark to make. Indira Gandhi's return to power in 1980 proved that India had little option other than her than and the same holds true for Bengal politics as well, the Saradha and Narada episodes notwithstanding.