Why BJP Didn't Win A Single Seat In Kolkata While It Swept Bengal

Christian Ender by the use of Getty Pictures

In 1927, Kolkata (then Calcutta) witnessed a resurgence of nationalist politics. To protest the appointment by means of the erstwhile British govt of the all-white Simon Fee, which used to be mandated to review constitutional reforms and the political scenario in India, 1000’s of Kolkata scholars took to the streets, like the ones in Mumbai (then Bombay), protesting and waving ‘Return Simon’ placards.

“This anti-Simon agitation marked the formal access of Calcutta scholars to mainstream nationalism,” Suranjan Das, wrote in Calcutta: The Residing Town (Vol II, edited by means of Sukanta Chaudhuri).

Despite the fact that contextually other, pupil lifetime of Kolkata entered the vortex of mainstream Indian politics when on Might 14 this yr some scholars of Calcutta College noisily protested the talk over with and roadshow of Amit Shah and waved ‘Return’ placards on the president of the Bharatiya Janata Birthday celebration (BJP).

It used to be a provocative and ironical scenario for a birthday party that sought votes at the nationalist plank and banked closely on successful a majority of Bengal’s 42 parliamentary seats. Clashes ensued between BJP cadres, scholars and the police, culminating in unidentified hoodlums ransacking the within reach Vidyasagar Faculty and destroying the bust of 19th century Bengali educationist and social reformer, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. A respected determine in Bengali properties, within the see-saw combat of public belief about who used to be liable for the desecration, BJP employees had been observed and felt to be culpable. The bust used to be destroyed whilst Bengali pleasure lay badly injured.

This became out to be a pivotal incident within the opposition’s pushback to the BJP in Bengal. Whilst the BJP gained 18 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats, the entire 9 constituencies, together with in Kolkata and surrounding spaces, which went for polling within the remaining section on Might 19 after the Vidyasagar Faculty incident, had been gained by means of the rival, Trinamool Congress (TMC).


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Of the 33 seats that went for polling until the 6th section, the scorecard learn: BJP: 18, TMC: 13. With the entire 9 seats from Kolkata and surrounding constituencies like Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat and Diamond Harbour going to the latter birthday party, the scorecard sooner or later learn: BJP: 18; TMC: 22 .

With two seats going to the Congress in previous levels, it’s the past due resistance proven by means of citizens of Kolkata and its peri-urban spaces that might smartly have driven the BJP to the second one spot within the Bengal Lok Sabha rating. In large part perceived as a birthday party coming from the Hindi heartland, there may be close to unanimity Bengali ethnic polarization stopped BJP from bagging a majority of the West Bengal seats.

“There used to be narrative increase and that reached a crescendo after the destruction of the Vidyasagar bust. For Bengalis, it used to be observed as a right away assault at the sanctum sanctorum,” says Garga Chatterjee, founding father of Bengali rights staff, Bangla Pokkho, and one that identifies himself as a Trinamool Congress supporter all over debates on nationwide tv.


As a part of the narrative buildup, Chatterjee cites the examples of demographic adjustments going down within the town with higher choice of non-Bengali audio system settling down; imposition of Ram Navami celebrations with swords and guns being brandished which is observed as “alien” to Bengali tradition; and the new flouting of environmental norms all over Chhath Puja, seen most commonly by means of the Bihari group.

“Political trade has at all times took place in Bengal when the opposition took over this Kolkata zone and the Gangetic south Bengal, which is observed because the nub of Bangaliana (Bengaliness). It used to be true for each the Left and the Trinamool,” says Chatterjee. “Surprisingly, when the BJP rose, it’s this section that held out. Not like the Left or the TMC, which first were given consent from Bengal’s core, Kolkata, on this case, the core is being surrounded and has the wisp of an invasion.”


The crude anti-Bengali sentiment that runs within the BJP can best be countered by means of Bangaliana

That the state’s ruling Mamata Banerjee-led TMC birthday party—battered by means of allegations of corruption; nepotism; highhandedness; vanity; violent intimidation of warring parties; and flouting of democratic rights of rural voters all over the panchayat polls in 2018—latched directly to the Vidyasagar Faculty controversy and the perceived insult to Bengali pleasure used to be briefly obvious.

An afternoon after the Vidyasagar Faculty incident, in an interview given to Rajdeep Sardesai on India As of late channel, TMC spokesperson Derek O’Brien described warring parties BJP as an “anti-Bengali Hindu birthday party”. “Ask the BJP to search out one chief, now not even two, who can come and provides a 10-minute speech in Bengali at any rally,” O’Brien rubbed it in sooner than handing out a caution to Amit Shah, delivered in Bengali at the English information channel.


Senior BJP chief and the birthday party’s dropping candidate from the Dum Dum constituency, Samik Bhattacharya, hints at this cultural chasm after I ask him over the telephone in regards to the acceptance and resonance of the BJP’s in style and arguable ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan in Bengal, the place each the language, Hindi, and the god in query, Ram, don’t seem to be hinged to the state.

“Individuals who utter the slogan and those that oppose it each misunderstand the slogan in Bengal. For the previous staff, they shout the slogan with out understanding its which means, whilst the opposite staff sees it as an expression of communal aggression and switch their heads in disgust. Not like in north India, the place this can be a greeting, for Bengalis, it’s somewhat obscure the Jai Shri Ram slogan,” says Bhattacharya.

He blamed Trinamool’s “proxy vote casting” and his personal birthday party’s loss of organizational power in Kolkata and surrounding spaces as the principle reason why for the BJP’s Nine-Zero debacle within the remaining section. “After all, we took a success after the Vidyasagar statue used to be destroyed, however we reversed the belief in an instant thru our birthday party’s Whatsapp and social media networks. It become a topic however now not large enough to dictate effects.”

“The Vidyasagar Faculty incident become an incident large enough to inflate the leads of TMC applicants however now not large enough to guarantee victor

 “The Vidyasagar Faculty incident become an incident large enough to inflate the leads of TMC applicants however now not large enough to guarantee victory,” causes TMC chief and minister of Science & Generation within the West Bengal govt, Bratya Basu. He candidly admits that the large loses confronted by means of the TMC in different portions of Bengal as a vote in opposition to native stage management and fallout of the panchayat elections fiasco, when numerous rural citizens weren’t allowed to vote and over 30 % of the seats had been gained by means of the TMC unopposed.

“This election wasn’t a few pro-BJP surge. Folks had been aggrieved at us for now not permitting them to vote all over the panchayat elections. Then there are problems with failure of our native management, vanity and getting concerned with native stage corruption,” says Basu.

In his Dum Dum meeting constituency, Basu says he had campaigned championing Bangaliana (Bengaliness). “The crude anti-Bengali sentiment that runs within the BJP can best be countered by means of Bangaliana. In conjunction with building and secularism, Bangaliana is an element and must be balanced. I will be able to’t say if this will probably be reliable Trinamool coverage within the coming days.”

Veteran CPI(M) chief, Rabin Deb, narrates an anecdote this is indicative of the huge adjustments in Bengal and Kolkata politics during the last 15 years.

Having contested in opposition to Mamata Banerjee from the Kolkata South Lok Sabha seat in 2004, simply months after Banerjee had rejoined the BJP-helmed and Atal Behari Vajpayee-led NDA govt on the Centre, at some point the communist chief discovered some other folks not directly related to the rightwing Hindu group, RSS, at his door.

“Mamata had previous surrender the NDA govt over the Tehelka mag disclose and the RSS other folks had been indignant at her and confident me of the votes of Hindi-speakers within the Kolkata South constituency,” says Deb. “However she satisfied Vajpayee to marketing campaign for her at a gathering at Deshapriya Park on Might five, 2004. After the assembly, each the RSS and the Hindi-speaking group had been placated and I misplaced the election.”

Banerjee used to be the lone winner from her Trinamool Congress birthday party all over the 2004 Lok Sabha elections from the Kolkata South constituency. Referred to as a die-hard survivor in politics, as of late, once more, it’s the identical Kolkata and its surrounding constituencies that experience stored her within the sport.

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