GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA
Mamata Banerjee has shown the type of fighter she is by inflicting a resounding defeat on the BJP in West Bengal. Right from the time the BJP made bold statements of making it big in West Bengal, it looked like an odd party in a state that traditionally thrived on a different brand of politics. From five seats in the 2016 elections if the BJP high command believed it had the wherewithal to pull it off based merely on the 2019 Lok Sabha election results in the state then there was something chronically wrong with the party think tank or it was a calculated plan to build an unassailable aura around the party. Going by her image and popularity, and the groundswell of opposition to the ‘outsider, the BJP’, it was clear for even an outside commentator that Mamata was almost certain to win. But somehow, the prospects of BJP were hyped much more than what it deserved. A fighter to the core, despite being a maverick, Mamata’s direct connect with the people and her fondness for simple life have always allured the common man. Therefore, no amount of name-calling, no amount of orchestrated defection and no amount of harping on anti-incumbency could save the day for BJP. Early opinion polls were always clear – a resounding victory for Mamata’s party though the BJP may make significant headway in the state. Political strategist Prashant Kishor was steadfast in maintaining that the saffron party would not cross the three-figure mark in West Bengal. Now that the picture is clear, it appears some key Trinamool Congress party leaders, many of them tainted by scams, deserting the party for BJP, some at the last moment, helped the party because the voter could read between the lines. The formidable Mamata deciphered the pulse of the people of the state better than any BJP leader. While her ‘poriborton’ poll promise did not take place, she had the trust of her people despite the TMC suffering electoral setbacks of late. People were unhappy with quite a few of the policies of ‘didi’ but, by and large, they appeared to be satisfied with her overall performance. The result is out – a spectacular win for Mamata Banerjee.