The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stomped through India’s most populous state and trampled a combined opposition on its way to power after 15 long years.
BJP is now way, way above the required 202 seats to form a government in the state. The party has now won 325 seats of the 384 it contested from. This decisive victory portends not just a great future for Uttar Pradesh, which has been torn along the lines of caste and religion for a long time, but also for states in India’s east.
The brains of the party will now embark on a building a necessary strategy to win the east, part of which it lost two years ago to a so-called ‘secular alliance’ (dubbed Mahagathbandhan) which was anything but secular.
In no time, cracks in the mahagathbandhan appeared and it became apparent to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar that the best thing for a politician who actually cares for the people is to work tirelessly for the growth of the nation. That alone earns voter trust and trust build in this manner cannot be supplanted by vote-bank or caste-based politics of which all anti-BJP parties claim to be experts of.
So BJP will set its sights on Bihar. Elections are a good three years away but groundwork by the BJP and its forces will start right now.
Since Nitish Kumar is a Chief Minister of standing and has the respect of many in the BJP, the party’s strategy in Bihar might be softer than the strategy it will adopt in the state that borders Bangladesh – West Bengal.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee knows very well what BJP’s resounding victory in Uttar Pradesh means. She understands perfectly what BJP’s success in Uttarkhand and Manipur will translate to. Sensing what is apparent, Banerjee tweeted this today as the charts showed BJP surging ahead:
Congratulations to winners in different States. Congratulations to the voters for making their choice. To the losers, don’t lose heart 1/2
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) March 11, 2017
In a democracy, we must respect each other because some will win, some will lose. Trust the people 2/2
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) March 11, 2017
The tweets are polite to a great extent. The “respect each other” part coming from Mamata’s twitter handle was unbelievable for some Twitter users, though they appreciated it.
@MamataOfficial Great thought,please follow the same,Modiji is elected PM so respect him and the mandate given by people,focus on WB.
— Sanchita Goswami (@SanchitaGoswam9) March 11, 2017
@MamataOfficial Such graceful words are appreciable if you do what you say, there is mismatch between your words and actions
— Arindam R Choudhury (@arindam0205) March 11, 2017
Mamata Banerjee has been one of the bitterest critics of the Prime Minister and his policies. Even at the time of writing, this tweet from January 10 was pinned to her handle:
In fact, when the Modi government announced demonetization, it was the West Bengal Chief Minister who created the most noise. Following that, she was also the only one who accused the Indian Army of failing to notify her on the day when the they conducted a routine vehicle check exercise in nine states of eastern India. The Army proved her wrong.
In her opposition to the Prime Minister, Mamata Banerjee also extended support to whosoever was against the PM, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. But all of that is politics; throwing bricks at another political leader is what almost everyone in this country has been doing for a long time.
What might be making Mamata a bit worried, perhaps, of the BJP’s rise in Uttar Pradesh is the fact that the party will be even more vociferous in pointing out increasing Islamic radicalism in her state.
Uttar Pradesh, too, was facing a bit of communal heat. Development was little to none. Communal politics, ironically by the ‘seculars’, did not work as Muslims genuinely concerned about the country and development, too, voted for the BJP.
Deoband with 70+% Muslim population has BJP candidate in the lead. Sanghi Deobandis? 😂😂 https://t.co/cRTEvAxYsc
— Yusuf Unjhawala 🇮🇳 (@YusufDFI) March 11, 2017
Bengal is now the hotbed of radical Islamists who operate with impunity from the state and threaten anyone – including the Chief Minister, mind you – without the fear of the law.
A series of riots and targeted attacks on Hindus in Bengal by radical Islamists has brought the Centre’s and security agencies’ eyes on the state. Mamata’s appeasement politics has been criticized by anyone with the slightest of concern for the integrity of the nation.
Had BJP not won Uttar Pradesh, Mamata would have been able to prove her point to the world. But with a massive majority in Uttar Pradesh, which will also lead to BJP getting an overwhelming majority in the Rajya Sabha, the Bengal CM might be forced to stop ignoring rampant Islamization of West Bengal.
Issuing fatwas against everyone from girls playing football to the Prime Minister has become a regular feature in West Bengal. Malda burned, Dhulagrah was engulfed in flames, Durga Puja can be banned, and a school was forced to shut down because of threats from Islamic fundamentalists.
Illegal immigrants from Bangladesh keep pouring in. Security agencies believe that many of them might be having links to terrorists. Such is the situation in Bengal that talks on Balochistan and Pakistan by liberal scholars and security experts are cancelled.
The government has been accused of ‘secularising’ school textbooks by removing references to anything that sounds Hindu.
And the state government’s recent move against schools that have a connection to the RSS instead of the over 2000 unregistered madrassas has not gone down well with a section of the people.
The blind appeasement policies of Mamata Banerjee has created political forces such as the Hindu Samhati, which recently held a massive rally in the heart of Kolkata.
Indeed, demonetization was what Modi’s opponents thought would be their weapon against BJP in these elections. Today’s results proved that the opposition was totally out of sync with the voters.
By ignoring the radicalization of her state, Mamata is alienating not just Hindus but also those, including Muslims, who are concerned about the security of the nation and genuinely want to preserve the secular ethos of the Constitution. It is this huge, development-seeking voter base that might turn to BJP by the time Bengal heads to polls in 2021.