Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) is all set to form a government for third consecutive term in West Bengal as the party has won with a thumping majority in the elections. Several Opposition leaders from across party lines in the country have congratulated her for the victory and defeating the BJP in the state. But the question arises here is why Opposition is so happy with Mamata Banerjee’s win in West Bengal elections 2021?
In her victory speech, the TMC supremo said, “This is a battle won not just for Bengal but for India.”
Moments after the speech, a joint letter written by Opposition leaders such as Mamata Bannerjee, MK Stalin, Sonia Gandhi, Tejashwi Yadav, Sharad Pawar, Hemant Soren, Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav was issued asking the central government to provide free Covid-19 vaccines to everyone in the country and oxygen to those in need.
Senior Congress leader Manish Tewari went on to call Banerjee “Jhansi Ki Rani” on the day when his grand-old party faced a crushing defeat in Kerala assembly elections. Social media platform Twitter is flooded with congratulatory messages from most of the Opposition stalwarts for Banerjee.
At this point, Opposition parties are rejoicing the victory of Mamata Banerjee even more than her own party TMC. The possibility could be that Banerjee’s win in 2021 West Bengal polls has brought hopes of becoming a speed breaker against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2024 Lok Sabha Elections.
Speaking to News18.com, a top Shiv Sena leader said, “If she had lost, our government would have fallen or be in deep crisis within a week. Her win will now mellow down the BJP for some time.”
Undoubtedly, it has been a high decibel campaign in West Bengal amid the second wave of Covid-19 and one of the toughest elections that Mamata Banerjee has won. With even much more confidence, this massive victory has now put the TMC supremo in direct confrontation of Modi. Though, Banerjee sounded quite mellow in her winning speech, but it was clear that she would not forget the alleged attacks she had to face during her campaign in the state.
Going back to 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Banerjee’s desire to lead a front against ruling NDA was apparent. She had been in touch with several non-BJP leaders such as Arvind Kejriwal (AAP), Tejashwi Yadav (RJD) and others to ensure that they could fight together against the BJP. However, it was a divided Opposition then and Banerjee herself was also distracted by the West Bengal polls.
While Sharad Pawar is the senior most in the Opposition spectrum, it is felt that he is now too old to hold the reigns. Bannerjee also has the advantage of the gender factor as many feel that a woman can fight back Modi. However, she suffers the disadvantage of not being a great Hindi speaker and also a limited national appeal. But a landslide win overcomes this disadvantage and could make her the face pitted opposite Prime Minister Modi.
The cynosure of the elections, held over March and April as the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic picked up pace to finally ravage large parts of the country, was the high-stakes, acrimonious TMC-BJP contest in West Bengal that had dominated headlines, drawing room conversations and political discourse. It was a victory that had Mamata Banerjee imprinted all over with the TMC winning 21 seats and leading in 190 of the 292-member house — the possible 211 seats comfortably over the winning mark of 147. But her own seat in Nandigram was in jeopardy.