How Hindutva and CAA push BJP to bring about consolidation of Muslim vote for TMC
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has paid a heavy price for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and its strong Hindutva push in its attempt to seize the reins of West Bengal from the Trinamool Congress of Mamata Banerjee. Anticipating that the state’s 27.01% Muslim voice share, according to the 2011 census, will be dispersed among TMC, Congress, the left and Abbas Siddiqui’s Indian secular front, while a majority of Almost 70% of Hindu voters will support the Saffron Brigade, leaders of the BJP and associated groups began fueling the politics of polarization shortly after winning 18 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats in 2019. However , the “absurd results”, as described by some BJP leaders, of the assembly polls reported on May 2 are the fallout from the consolidation of the Muslim vote in most of the assembly constituencies, but mainly in Howrah and north and south of Parganas.
After a fiercely contested eight-phase election, the TMC returned to power in Bengal with a landslide victory, winning 213 of the 292 seats on offer. The BJP, which ran a high-level campaign led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Secretary of the union Amit Shah and other top leaders, won 77. Congress and the left made a blank while the ISF and Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) got a seat one piece.
There are 16 assembly seats in Howrah, while in the Northern and Southern Parganas there are 33 and 31 respectively. Of the 80 seats in the three districts, Trinamool won 75, with clean sweeps. in Howrah and south of 24 Parganas. In North 24 Parganas, the BJP won only five of 33 constituencies.
In the aftermath of the destructive Cyclone Amphan a year ago, BJP leaders paid close attention to these three districts and began working to nurture anti-outgoing sentiments with catchy slogans against the TMC for its alleged culture of money reduction (commission) and general corruption in distribution. relief supplies among those affected.
Even PM Modi, the Shah and BJP national chairman JP Nadda have launched several attacks on the ruling party in Bengal on these issues.
In most of the rallies and meetings in these districts, the main leaders of the BJP tried to consolidate the Hindu voters while highlighting the “corrupt practices” of the TMC.
While addressing the public at the iconic Brigade Parade Ground in Calcutta on March 7, the Prime Minister searched Trinamool while promising “Asol poriborton (real change)”. “Unnayan sabka hoga… tushtikaran kisi ek ka nahi (There will be development and growth for all and not the appeasement of a community),” he said.
So great was the BJP’s attempt to polarize that, despite the anti-outgoing factor, Muslims voted for Trinamool in large numbers in those districts without a significant division of votes.
In South 24 Parganas with almost 37%, in North 24 Parganas around 25% and Howrah with around 40% Muslims voted strongly for the TMC due to the BJP CAA and Hindutva push.
The Citizenship Amendment Act aims to accelerate the citizenship of Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians who arrived in India before December 31, 2014 from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to majority Muslim after being victims of religious persecution. The passage of the bill on December 11, 2019 sparked widespread protests in several parts of the country, with detractors including the TMC claiming that, combined with the National Registry of Citizens (NRC), the legislation aims to strip Muslims. in India of their citizenship if they do not have sufficient documents.
Speaking to News18, BJP South 24 Parganas District Chairman Sunip Das said: “The main factor behind the TMC’s boom is Muslim voters. They only voted for the TMC this time. The share of the Muslim vote was not divided between Congress and the left. Can you believe that in one of Jaynagar’s booths we only got 27 votes, while TMC led with over 50,000 votes (at the count)? In the South 24 Parganas district, the IPC (M) voting share was 7% earlier, but this time it dropped to 2%, with the remainder going to the TMC. It was a bipolar fight between the TMC and the BJP and the ruling party won a lot, which was beyond our assessment. There was a strong anti-exit factor in these three districts, but one community took it as a struggle for existence. “
A similar trend was also observed in North Bengal where the consolidation of Muslim votes has become a major factor in the rise of the TMC.
BJP sources also said that at least 31 of the candidates who won on his tickets were deserters from other parties.
“A total of 107 candidates (who joined the BJP from other parties) contested the Bengal assembly polls and only 31 managed to win. We never expected such horrific results, ”a senior BJP leader said on condition of anonymity.
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