The Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory in the assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh has unsettled political equations in West Bengal and it was likely to have far-reaching consequences in politics of the state, say political leaders.
Some leaders believe that the Mamata Banerjee-led party could tone down its shrillness in countering the saffron party whose win has given the BJP state leadership and cadres a strong footing to prepare ground for the next year’s panchayat polls.
“The results would have a major impact in Bengal politics. It will kickstart a churn in state politics in days to come where BJP will be in an advantageous position,” BJP leader Mukul Roy said.
Party sources said several Trinamool Congress leaders were likely to join the BJP in the days to come and the ruling party would find it hard to keep its house in order.
Roy, once the second-in-command of the TMC, joined the BJP last month.
The West Bengal BJP leaders are also hopeful that the poll results would impact the Sabang assembly bypoll scheduled on December 21.
On Monday night, the BJP took out a victory rally in Sabang to celebrate its success in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat where the party bagged 44 and 99 seats respectively.
“Our next target is Bengal. And this victory for sure will galvanise the cadres at the grassroots level ahead of the panchayat polls. We are confident that the people of Bengal want freedom from the misrule of this corrupt TMC government,” state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said.
The TMC, however, dismissed the BJP’s claims as baseless and devoid of any political logic.
“The Gujarat poll results will not have any impact on Bengal politics. If you analyse the Gujarat results, you will see that the BJP’s Gujarat model of development has fallen flat as it faced a drubbing in rural areas,” TMC’s Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said.
However, a section of the TMC leadership, who preferred anonymity, expressed apprehension that the BJP might use central agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate to corner TMC leaders whose names have cropped up in corruption cases.
On Monday, a senior TMC MP said that the party would coordinate with other parties, if need be, in opposing the BJP for its anti-people policies, but would not show resistance on issues that did not affect the common man.
“We will play the role of a constructive opposition in Parliament. We will not become a second fiddle to the Congress in opposing the government on each and every issue,” he said.
The Congress, which is hoping to cash in on the party’s improved performance in Gujarat, said the TMC’s change in stance in Parliament was an indication that the party was going soft on the BJP to save its own leaders.
“The TMC is known for its double standards. It knows very well that most of its leaders might be arrested in corruption cases. So, they are trying to please the BJP by trying to maintain distance with Congress,” Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Abdul Mannan of the Congress said.
Image: BJP workers celebrate their victory in the assembly elections. Photograph: Santosh Hirlekar/PTI Photo