In the run-up to the next round of legislative elections, West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congressional Supreme (TMC) Mamata Banerjee had, on October 30, accused Congress to be undecided and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would make gains as a result.
It was not a one-off attack; the party and its employee, Prashant Kishor, were attack Congress consistently. When the TMC was interrogates Regarding its history of alliance with the BJP for power under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the party has once again resorted to attacking Congress.
.@INCIndiaBJP’s current leadership is BJP’s BIGGEST assurance!
In WB, we have been fighting and successfully defeating BJP since 2001. Instead of blaming others, INC should put its home to effectively fight BJP or leave others who have the will and capacity to fight them at the national level. https://t.co/z4Hn0Hzv2r
– Indian Congress of Trinamool (@AITCofficial) November 1, 2021
The “determination” with which the TMC attacks the main opposition party rather than the BJP seems to show that it shares the Prime Minister’s agenda at the national level.
Under normal circumstances, such attacks could have been considered routine gestures before the elections and therefore ignored; however, given that this is a time of great upheaval in our nation’s politics, a sober assessment of their demands is in order.
These claims are ideologically and electoral erroneously based on an inflated image, fabricated more by media proximity to Delhi and its English-speaking Twitterati than by political support on the ground.
Bengal’s verdict: electoral victory, political defeat
It is true that the BJP failed to achieve an electoral victory in Bengal; however, it succeeded politically by asserting itself as the main opposing force. The party’s share of votes has skyrockets from 4.1% to 38.13% in a decade – during a period of absolute dominance of the TMC – putting a question mark on Banerjee’s claims of being a credible deterrent for the saffron juggernaut and leading a struggle without compromise. The truth is, she did not triumph; she just survived Bengal.
The well-established local network of the TMC and Banerjee’s grip on the imaginations of the Bengali masses, along with the lack of organizational strength and credible faces of BJP in the state have been a huge factor in ensuring its survival. However, in the Lok Sabha elections, when the TMC was forced into an electoral competition with Modi, the BJP won 18 of Lok Sabha’s 42 seats and the TMC dragged on 121 assembly segments. Forty percent of Bengalis approved Modi for the post of prime minister. This is a clear indication that even Bengal does not unanimously endorse Banerjee for a role in national politics, let alone the non-Bengali public.
“No Hindi, no prime minister …”
While she remains the undisputed leader of Bengal, she does not enjoy the same popularity outside the state; especially in the Hindi speaking regions of the country. This is a very important factor in providing a national alternative. Former President Pranab Mukherjee, interviewed about his disappointment at not having been appointed Prime Minister under the UPA-I, explained: “No Hindi, no post of Prime Minister …”.
This should not be read as a declaration of linguistic chauvinism; it bears a truth on which we must deliberate: that the stronghold of BJP is the heart of Hindi. The only opposition he faces in this decisive region comes from Congress. There are a huge number of seats across the country in which the only opposition of the BJP is Congress; the TMC is a non-starter here. Claiming a serious political challenge to the BJP by inducting a motley group of disgruntled congressmen, former Modi facilitators deprived of their share of loot, political lightweights and well-meaning elites of civil society, is a pipe dream. It will achieve, at best, the objective of fragmenting the opposition and helping the BJP.
Interests, ideology and the Modi regime
Democratic politics are driven by the double factor of shared interests and ideology. For example, the period of Congressional hegemony saw a constellation of forces most unlikely to achieve the common interest of overthrowing Indira Gandhi. However, the interest came at a high ideological price; because he gave the saffron brigade the political respectability they were looking for. The rest, as they say, is history.
It is true that all the opposition shares a common interest in defeating the Modi regime; however, there must be a common understanding of what this diet represents. This regime has deepened democracy and anchored authoritarian idioms on the backs of corporate finance. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the Modi regime is the primary vehicle for the corporate takeover of the Indian economy.
However, the TMC, itself the largest beneficiary of corporate donations within the opposition, has decided to remain silent on the crony-capitalist racketeering which is currently destroying our economy. On the contrary, the Congress led by Rahul Gandhi has strongly opposed this crony capitalist attack, whether opposing the land acquisition bill or supporting the current farmer agitation. ; a fact recognized even by the leader of the bustle Rakesh Tikait. Does the opposition amount to a simple change of face or a change of political paradigm?
Banerjee is a master of opposition interest-based politics that flourishes in the role of “street fighter”; however, it does not have an ideological compass. Additionally, she only encountered a weak, non-hegemonic BJP in Bengal. While Congress is fighting a battle in the heart of Saffron. Besides the main governments of several states, Congress is on the streets, whether in Hathras or Lakhimpur Kheri or even in the less televised Padyatras underway in the rural hinterland of Madhya Pradesh and other states.
Ideological rhetoric has multiple purposes; it can be used to criticize the existing power structure, but it can also be used to conceal the real motivations and interests of political actors. The current posture of the former ally of the BJP turned anti-Modi crusader falls into this last installment. After all, she was more than happy to be a minister without portfolio in the NDA even after the Gujarat violence in 2002. Given this history, claims to occupy congressional space against the saffron assault are a bit rich.
Anshul Trivedi submitted his doctorate to the CPS / JNU and is a member of the Congress Party. he tweets @ anshultrivedi47.