What are options before Mamata Banerjee?
New Delhi, May 29: West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee is a concerned person after May 23, when the results of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections were announced.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) inflicted a massive blow to the ruling TMC by winning 18 of the 42 parliamentary constituencies. The TMC won 22 seats. In the 2014 general elections, the Banerjee-led TMC had won 34 seats and the BJP two.
The BJP has not taken rest after making inroads in West Bengal and has set a target of winning next Assembly elections.
West Bengal will go to the polls in 2021, when the Mamata Banerjee government completes its tenure, the second consecutive one for the TMC since 2011, when the 34-year Left Front rule came to an end.
During the campaigning, Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi had claimed that around 40 TMC MLAs were in touch with the BJP and ready to switch sides.
Many didn't take his claim seriously, but the developments on Tuesday proved he was right.
On May 24, Banerjee had to expel TMC MLA from Bijpur Subhranshu Roy for making anti-party comments by praising his father and BJP leader Mukul Roy and saying he single-handedly wrecked the TMC in the state.
On Tuesday, Subhranshu Roy along with another TMC MLA, one Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA, and more than 50 TMC councillors joined the BJP in presence of BJP national general secretary in-charge of Bengal Kailash Vijayvargiya and his father Mukul Roy, who was earlier with the TMC.
What lies ahead of Mamata Banerjee was announced by Vijayvargiya, who said that like seven-phased Lok Sabha elections, TMC leaders will join BJP in seven phases, and Tuesday witnessed the first phase.
He also claimed that the TMC won't get Opposition party status in the Bengal assembly in 2021.
Given the track record of the BJP, no political party can afford to take the saffron party's claims lightly.
It's notable that before the Lok Sabha elections, BJP president Amit Shah had claimed of winning 19 plus seats in West Bengal and the BJP has won 18 seats.
The breakup of the Lok Sabha elections in terms of the Assembly constituencies shows that the TMC has won 164 out of the 294 seats. At the same time, the BJP is also not far behind this figure. It won 121 seats.
A journalist who covers West Bengal politics tells OneIndia that though the biggest challenge for Mamata at the moment is to stop defection, but it's unlikely that she would succeed.
"The loyalty factor isn't there among TMC leaders, as many of them had joined 'rising' Mamata after leaving their former parties. Now the BJP is a rising star in West Bengal and it has returned back to power in Delhi with a huge majority, so Mamata won't be able to stop her people shifting loyalties," says the journalist.
The scribe says the handling of the party by Mamata and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee during eight-year-rule in West Bengal is another reason for the downfall of the TMC.
"Banerjee family is like the Gandhi family and there is no democracy within the party. Except for Muslim TMC leaders, there is a fear factor among other party leaders, who are in fact obeyers. They only obey the orders of Abhishek," says the journo, adding the only option that is left with Mamata to prevent further downfall of the party is sooner she makes TMC democratic is better.
When asked whether West Bengal would also see Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) like Uttar Pradesh, the seasoned scribe did not completely rule it out.
"No one is a permanent foe or friend in politics. All three non-BJP forces- TMC, Left, and Congress- have suffered losses in this Lok Sabha election, so the three parties coming together for the Assembly elections can't be termed as an alien idea. The West Bengal Congress is already ruing that had there been an alliance with the Left then the BJP would not have gained in the Lok Sabha election," says the journalist.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP), the two staunch opponent political parties of Uttar Pradesh, had forged a Grand Alliance along with the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) to take on the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections but they failed to stop BJP juggernaut. The BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 62 seats, nine less than 2014. The SP matched its 2014 tally by winning five seats. The BSP, which had scored a naught in 2014, managed to win 10 seats.