Will women voters play key role in deciding Bengal’s future?
New Delhi, Mar 24: Women voters, the most loyal vote bank's influence could be on display once again especially in poll-bound West Bengal, currently India's only state with a woman chief minister.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had been looking for newer ways to make inroads into the southern states is now trying its best to woo women voters.
The saffron parties manifesto named 'Sanklap Patra' promised 33 per cent reservation for women in state government jobs. In an apparent effort to counter the ruling TMC's "Bangla Nijer Meyeke Chai" (Bengal wants its own daughter) slogan BJP promised employment generation and social security, while laying extra emphasis on welfare of women.
The feisty TMC boss shares a special bond with the women voters of the state since the 1980s when she made her debut in electoral politics.
This election, the incumbent chief minister Mamata Banerjee has projected herself as the daughter of Bengal to win the hearts and minds of the people. Facing a resurgent BJP as the main challenger, the unveiled a poll slogan- "Bangla Nijer Meyekei Chaye",portraying Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as its mascot with focus on women voters and Bengali sub-nationalism.
The slogan, which translates to 'Bengal wants its own daughter', presents the transformation from her popular image of 'didi' (elder sister) to 'Nijer Meye' (own daughter), was officially launched at the party's headquarters off EM Bypass.
It projects Banerjee as the daughter of Bengal, someone who is our own, while branding the BJP as a party of outsiders.
Reportedly, West Bengal has about 3.5 crore women voters, about half of the state's total electorate of 7.32 crore. The saffron party heavily banks on women voters what it often refers to as silent voters in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh election when it decimated the Samajwadi Party by winning 312 of 403 seats.
In the recent Bihar election, women voters tilted the balance in favour of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar despite palpable anti-incumbency.
J. Jayalalithaa's popularity with women voters also helped her retain power despite all odds in Tamil Nadu in 2016.