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How Mamata Countered BJP’s Bengal Rise to Score a Hattrick | India News

KOLKATA: It was a choice with many firsts for Mamata banerjee. In a career spanning nearly four decades, he had never contested a seat outside of South Kolkata, much less against a separate aide who jumped ship a few months before the election. A series of more defections on the eve of the elections posed another unknown challenge. A much-discussed leg injury just as the bid for a third term seemed in need of help ensured that Mamata, known for always walking further, spent most of the 50-day campaign in a wheelchair.
Not everything he had to deal with was unexpected. For Mamata, who began her electoral journey with a 1984 Lok Sabha victory, the 2019 general election in which the BJP took 18 of Lok Sabha’s 42 seats in her citadel ushered in a new political curve. Instead of the Left Front and Congress, his main opponent in the 2021 race for Bengal now it was BJP, which was eager to tap into its profits in 121 assembly segments.

How Mamata Countered BJP's Bengal Rise to Score a Hattrick | India News

Mamata’s share of votes Trinamool Congress may have fallen as little as 2% in Lok Sabha’s polls, but its lead fell from 211 to 164 in the 294-seat assembly. Going to the assembly elections with two full terms behind him, he also faced opposition to the incumbent.
The first sign of change was when polling strategist Prasant Kishor accompanied his nephew Abhishek banerjee at his Nabanna Chambers office on the 14th floor in late June 2019. Kishor proposed countering anti-incumbency with a centralized, data-driven approach to identifying and addressing people’s complaints.

The “Didi Ke Bolo” campaign took shape in July 2019. In August, more than 10 lakh of complaints and suggestions were made. Identifying problem groups helped Mamata launch her “Duare Sarkar” (governance at the door) and “Parae Samadhan” (neighborhood solutions) campaigns and reshape Swasthya Sathi’s healthcare scheme. The data also helped her reposition herself and the party.
“Bangla Nijer Meye Ke Chae” (Bengal loves her daughter) was an attempt to counter BJP’s call for religious identity. With slogans “Jai Bangla”, he invoked a pan-Bengali nationalism. And to make up for the sticky accusation of appeasing minorities, he declared his gotra (caste).
Two of Mamata’s top ministers, Suvendu Adhikari and Rajib Banerjee, left Trinamool, but she was not intimidated. “I am a street fighter. I’m still a street fighter. I do not pass instructions in a battle, I direct it on the ground, “he said of his transfer to the battlefield. Nandigram.
The same aggressive streak had her camping at a Boyal post on Election Day in Nandigram, believed to be BJP territory. “Nandigram opened my eyes,” he would later say.
The episode also led her to sharpen her attack on the Electoral Commission and central forces, which reached a fever pitch after the Sitalkuchi dismissal that left four dead on the day of the fourth phase of the polls.
Mamata believes the battle for Bengal has gotten the ball rolling for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

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