West Bengal election aligns with the Indian Constitution. Local body Elections regulations are made unilaterally by the West Bengal Assembly, whereas the Indian Parliament must authorize changes to state-level election legislation. According to Article 356 of the Indian Constitution, the President can impose presidential rule and dismiss the state legislature.

From April 19th until June 1st, 2024, voters in 42 constituencies in West Bengal will go to the polls for the LokSabha Elections; the results will be released on June 4th. This time, a fierce electoral battle is on the horizon in the state, pitting the current TMC government against the opposition BJP, the Congress, and the Left.

How the 2019 West Bengal LokSabha Election Made Out

Similarly to this year, all seven stages of the LokSabha elections in West Bengal were held in 2019. While the saffron party increased its rallies from 2 in 2014 to 18 in 2019, the TMC won 22 out of 42 constituencies in the coastal state during the last election. As for the other two seats, the Congress party has just taken them.

Minorities in Bengal are expected to back the TMC in the upcoming LokSabha elections, according to party leaders

According to community leaders, minority groups in West Bengal, who make up approximately 30% of the electorate, would likely support the TMC to stop the BJP from making more gains, even though there is a secular option offered by the Left-Congress coalition.

Officials from minority groups claim that Muslims in west Bengal election—a state with a significant number of LokSabha seats—are leaning toward the Mamata Banerjee-led party because they perceive it as a more viable alternative to the Left-Congress coalition.

The districts of Murshidabad, Malda, and Uttar Dinajpur stand out with this tendency, as minorities populate them.

Given the Indian Secular Front’s (ISF) decision to go in alone, the Left Congress may find it more difficult to win over minorities, particularly given the saffron party’s use of divisive themes like the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the Ram Mandir.

The Muslim electorate in West Bengal is the country’s second-highest, behind only Kashmir and Assam.

Some members of the religious minority may be unhappy with the current state administration, but their leaders insist that the TMC must have their votes to defeat the BJP.

One factor that helped the BJP win in areas with a minority population in 2019 was the widespread appeals from imams to community members to keep minority votes from being split.

Persistent or Improved Performance Faces Difficulties for the BJP Calc 2019 LokSabha Election Results

The Organisational Influence of the BJP is Declining

Until the pivotal year of 2018, the BJP has barely registered on the West Bengal political radar. In the state of Bengal, the saffron party had an extraordinary rise during the tenure of former chief minister DilipGhosh. Astonishingly, the BJP defied predictions and expectations in the 2019 LokSabha elections, and the results were visible. The party won an astounding 19 of the 42 LokSabha seats.

So, the BJP leadership shifted its attention entirely to West Bengal for the 2021 VidhanSabha elections. It began a strong challenge to Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, with Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah at the campaign’s helm. The BJP got 77 seats in the VidhanSabha, up from 3 before, but more was needed to achieve its goals. There was an increase in the party’s statewide organizational footprint as well. With so many state legislators and members of parliament having joined or returned to the TMC in recent years, it suffered heavy losses following the election.

When the 2024west Bengal electiondraw near, the BJP will have failed to demonstrate strong organizational growth. The BJP’s organizational strength in West Bengal has remained unchanged since the 2021 VidhanSabha elections. Dhupguri, a North Bengali seat that the BJP lost in the most recent by-election, is a prime example of this descent.

If the BJP wants to repeat or improve its performance in the 2019 LokSabha election in 2024, it will face a tough battle from this organizational erosion.

Missing Opportunity to Offer a TMC Alternative

After the TMC, led by Mamata Banerjee, won the 2021 West Bengal assembly elections, they and the administration were immediately thrust into a storm of corruption accusations. There have been suspicions of misconduct in employing instructors at different grade levels. The Calcutta High Court is investigating House of Representatives member Abhishek Banerjee, nephew of Mamata Banerjee and TMC general secretary. Famous figures like AnubrataMondal have been threatened with jail time for their involvement in these schemes.

The BJP wanted to use these events to offer itself as an alternative to Banerjee by creating a powerful narrative that contradicted her policies. The Left and Congress had lost control in the state, giving the BJP an excellent chance.

Unfortunately, the BJP came up short against the TMC. Additionally, it needed help to establish its political position while staying vital to West Bengali ideals. During the 2021 assembly election, Mamata Banerjee claimed that the BJP was an outsider outfit.

SuvenduAdhikari, a key BJP figure in Bengal and former Trinamool Congress politician and politician of the Opposition, often tried to rally protests against Mamata Banerjee. These efforts failed due to the party’s small organizational reach and lack of internal support.

Emergence of a New BJP Leadership

BJP is trying to overcome a political leadership crisis. The party created a leadership vacuum after removing DilipGhosh and his colleagues as Bengal unit chairman. Without Ghosh, the BJP couldn’t enter Bengal’s politics. Even though West Bengal’s elite may not have liked his political speech or style, he had a good relationship with the masses.

Rahul Sinha, another ex-Bengal BJP chief, and other DilipGhosh allies are ostracized. Due to the marginalization of Ghosh, Sinha, and others, some BJP members believe the party’s public reputation has suffered. Ghosh’s departure was followed by Dr.SukantaMajumdar as state BJP chief. The party’s top issues now include his seeming coldness and lack of grassroots involvement.

Insiders say SuvenduAdhikari and SukantaMajumdar are at odds in the BJP’s Bengal chapter. Decisions on organizational, policy, and political issues have been made in silos as a consequence of this rift, which is different from the party’s previous united stance.

In addition to damaging the party’s reputation in Bengal, the current leadership issue is severely hampering its chances of winning future elections.

Eight states to have special observers sent by the Elections Commission for LokSabha polls from the ranks of former IAS, IPS, and IRS officers

To monitor the randomization of people, security forces, and electronic voting machines (EVMs) and to combat the impact of money and muscle power in the 2024 LokSabha and Assembly elections, the Election Commission has designated seventeen former bureaucrats as special observers in eight states. Special observers (general) have been appointed in Bihar, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and West Bengal, respectively, to positions held by retired IAS officers Manjit Singh, Dharmendra S Gangwar, Ajay V Nayak, Ram Mohan Mishra, YogendraTripathi, and AlokSinha.

By Vishal

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