Thursday, June 17, 2021
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Why Jai Sriram did not fall on deaf ears of Bengalis

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By S.K.Nag

 What went wrong with BJP that they could not do well as per the expectation? Two consecutive terms of Trinamul must be having some anti-incumbency which BJP could not leverage efficiently this time. The mindset of Bengali, which perhaps BJP strategist failed to understand. The Modi & Shah team fell short to widen their bandwidth to understand the average Bengali wants. At the outset, it was undeniable that the shouting Jai-Sriram on 23rd Jan in Victoria memorial hall was the biggest mistake that BJP had committed. It had wrongly signalled a more comprehensive section of Bengal with the coming anarchy of religion divide, which Bengal does not like collectively. The image of Netaji in all Bengali’s heart is no less than a God. 

Perhaps Bengal needs a balanced leadership to reset the clock of progress, avoiding being impulsive, which the current CM did not achieve in her last two terms. She lost the focus on actual development due to the myopic target she had set in while drafting her governance strategy. The politics of freebies does not bring in sustainable growth helpful to the masses. It promotes a short-term gain to a small section of society at the cost of larger sections. This may be a low-hanging political brand-building strategy to harvest a manageable number to occupy the governing chair.
Current potential voters don’t understand and like the traditional mud slinking on each other. Politics of wild card entry of film fraternity to occupy the coveted political space through ramp walk is a wrong strategy which BJP copied from TMC. The core expectations of governance are gradually becoming evident day by day. The competitive fight to win an election should not extend beyond the election. Hate mongering with hollow political narratives takes us to nowhere. The Bihar election has shown how clear manifestos can navigate the mandate of people so distinctly. The incidence of the missing link in political consonance antagonizes the current generation who believes in the Facebook & Instagram world of communication. The fast-changing mindset of electorates, therefore, calls for the alignment of all political parties according to time of the day’s requirement. Missing the core expectations of local people does not end up making the hot seat.
Once the elected government is in place, the opposition should collate their thought through constructive criticism conducive to good governance. Therefore, political consonance is a prerequisite in democratic governance. No country could prosper unless there is a trustworthy foundation of cooperation and understanding. Indian democracy enjoys the credibility of robustness because of its size and diversity. Our country’s nicely woven democratic structure with multi-lingual, multicultural, and multi-religion diversity in one basket has given this country strength of unity that we recognized from our ancestors’ days. We are ultimately one in the end. But Political parties at times are harvesting their political mileage through politics of division. A country of 1.3 billion with many short-term and long-term issues might see a visible fault line on many controversial issues. But those divisions are not expected to exist once we are out of the business of elections. Missing links between parties are prevalent across the country. But it is a matter of fact that oppositions deserve a space in making a policy decision. Otherwise, the ‘fear of missing out will bring in a lot of noise in our stabilized society.
West Bengal has inherited a cadre-based political structure that it had imbibed during the CPM three decades ruling period. The change did not materialize as the cadres of TMC are none other than the foot soldiers of CPIM. The leaders of panchayat and local elected bodies are all the same people with changed political color only. So, after a drama of one month, Bengal has its new Govt. The new dawn would be good, bad, or ugly to be seen in the coming days. It may be a changed or unchanged governance philosophy on the ground, and we need to see it in the coming days.

Ram is a mythological character in Bengal. Though it is worshiped in some areas, there is no denying that it is not so widely worshiped like other states of India.
Therefore promoting Jai Sri Ram has failed to make headway into Bengali voters. BJP campaigners very lately identified the matter, though, still could not recover the damage done by then. Bengal is waiting to see a fundamental transformation of development, which our PM also could not articulate in his multiple rallies. So the revolutionary change that BJP expected was challenging. The development-based election manifesto could have taken BJP further, but none felt the importance of development.
Promoting celebrities was another mistake that BJP committed. Instead, if they had encouraged some learned social workers who spent their lives on mass upliftment from the RSS repository, it would have taken them on a better platform. Surprisingly, the local BJP leaders did not stop the central leadership from committing such mistakes. BJP wrongly identifies Bengal’s likes & dislikes because of the incorrect ground connection and misinformation due to the limited bandwidth of the Modi & Shah central team. Polarisation tricks worked in the areas of North Bengal, which are dominated by the non-Bengali business community.
TMC’s appeasement politics have given BJP an advantage of Hindu vote consolidation, but BJP could not use it because of no CM face. Our PM is a popular leader nationally; still, his brand image could not influence voters. 

Most Bengalis presumed that one of their unfit local party leaders perhaps would be the CM of Bengal. Their local leadership has not proven their mettle on the ground through some good work. They are just political campaigners without proving their commitment level on the field.
On the contrary, TMC supremo has established her on this soil for a long time.   She has uprooted CPM, which had ruled this state for more than three decades. The violence faced by her is also not different from what BJP is facing today.
BJP has to do many good works in the coming years if they are interested in this state to conquer. Political invasion to a state that cannot be polarised on the religion divide alone. It needs something different for prosperity. So a more thoughtful strategy of development is essential than merely criticizing the incumbent. They should release their development plan and actively participate in making them a reality.
The elected BJP MLAs should revamp lost industrialization, Cash crop agricultural promotion, Drinking water problems, North Bengal tea estate development, and many others with the center’s involvement. This transformation in the accurate term may establish their local foothold and develop a new leaders’ face to whom they may depend after five years.

(Author is Industrial Engineer, Fellow Valuer, Chartered Engineer, BEE approved Energy Expert and Industry Mentor. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at saibal.iim@gmail.com)

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