Trinamool Congress’s poll strategist, Prashant Kishore is purportedly heard in an audio clip saying that there is anti-incumbency against the TMC and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is as popular as Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal. But the BJP lacks a popular face in the state level, writes ZAFRI MUDASSER NOFIL

West Bengal is witnessing its most crucial assembly elections. With the BJP firing on all cylinders to wrest the eastern state from the Trinamool Congress’s (TMC) control, Mamata Banerjee is facing the biggest test of her political life.

Both the parties, the main players in this contest, are leaving no stone unturned. In December 2020, Mamata’s poll strategist Prashant Kishore had vowed to quit Twitter if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) crosses double digits in the elections. But four months later, things are not the way they seemed then.

If an audio clip circulated by the BJP is to be believed, then the Trinamool Congress may find the going tough. In that clip, Kishore is purportedly heard saying that there is anti-incumbency against the TMC and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is as popular as Mamata in West Bengal.

The campaigning could not have been more vitriol-filled. Mamata was consistent enough in her attack on Modi throughout the campaigning process, terming the top BJP leadership as ‘outsiders’. The BJP, on the other hand, accused Mamata of indulging in drama to win the sympathy of voters. The BJP was totally dependent on Modi and central leaders for the poll campaign making it look like a ‘Modi vs Mamata’ battle. The party hardly has any popular face in the state-level and that is its biggest drawback. Besides, many of its candidates this time are fence crossers.

The eight-phase elections have really taken a toll on the state amid the coronavirus pandemic. Mamata has also been accusing the Election Commission of bias be it for the long span of the polls or its various decisions related to campaigning.

So all eyes are now on May 2 when results will be declared. Poll analysts say Didi might just scrap through but the threat of her MLAs being lured to cross over will persist. A third term for Mamata will mean that “Bengal wants its own daughter” while a BJP victory will be a desperate mission accomplished for the saffron party.

The outcome will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications on Bengal’s future. If the Trinamool is voted back to power again, Mamata will also have to bring in some discipline in her party and quell dissidence to ensure a smooth five years in office. Besides, she has to keep the Bengali ethnic sentiment flag flying.

If the BJP wins, there is fear that it might push its Hindutva narrative in the state, much to the chagrin of the people.

ZAFRI MUDASSER NOFIL is a Press Trust of India journalist based in Delhi. He is the author of the book, The Identity Quotient: The Story of the Assamese Muslims, published recently. He can be reached at

Opinions expressed in this article are of the author’s and do not represent the policy of The Edition. The writer is solely responsible for any claim arising out of the contents of this article.

Tags: #TMC #BJP #Pandemic #Election #Twitter #Hindutva #PrashantKishore #WestBengalAssemblyElection2021