New Delhi: We all know that Jai Shri Ram's slogan has become the most talked-about catchphrase for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the West Bengal Assembly election. This has also become a unifying factor for Hindu votes and to tease Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in the ongoing poll campaign. Since it has become a household name, you can hear it every nook and corner across the state.
Another slogan associated with Lord Ram is also doing the round in the ongoing Bengal poll but is not so popular. You will not be able to see this slogan written anywhere, nor will you find anyone raising it, but this is no less important than Jai Shri Ram.
You will be surprised to know that this has been coined by the Left parties and also raised by the Left workers. Now, you will be curious to know as to why the Left workers find an association in it.
The ground reality of West Bengal is that under Mamata Banerjee's 10-year alleged misrule, workers of the Left parties have been at the receiving end. In the 2018 state Panchayat elections, the Left cadres bore the brunt along with BJP workers.
Although the BJP-led government at the Centre and all its top leaders including Amit Shah stood behind their party workers, the Left leaders left their workers at the mercy of God. These Left workers are understood to have played a crucial role in the victory of 18 seats of the BJP during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal.
In the last Lok Sabha elections, not only the Left workers but also the Congressmen extended their support to the BJP to defeat the TMC candidates. As both the Congress and the Left fought separately in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, their cadres understood well that both the parties could not compete with TMC, hence, they sided with the BJP.
In the 2021 assembly elections, however, the Congress and the Left parties are contesting together, but the attitude of the alliance leadership has disappointed the workers.
West Bengal's first phase of polling is already over, but the top leaders of Congress including, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi have not visited the state for poll campaign nor of the Left parties. This apathy of the top leadership of both parties has led to the creation of a new poll slogan -"2021 mein Ram ....2026 mein Vaam" (Ram in 2021 and Left in 2026) in Bengal. This has come reportedly from disgruntled Left activists.
The reflection of this sentiment was witnessed in the first phase of polling held in Purulia, Bankura, Jhargram, or in the Midnipur region where the Left party workers voted according to this slogan. In the coming phase too, a similar mood is expected to affect the voting pattern.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, because of these disgruntled voters, the BJP's vote bank reached 40 per cent. The saffron party now needs an increase of merely 2 to 3 per cent of votes in the 2021 assembly elections to give a crushing blow to the ruling TMC. If the BJP manages to do so, it would attain the requisite numbers to form the government.
Among other factors favouring the BJP is the arrest of TMC leader Chakradhar Mahato by the Central agency, NIA. This reason is learnt to have tilted the Left activists towards the BJP because Mahato is accused of murdering one CPM leader in 2009.
The ground reality gives an impression that the Left (Vaam) and 'Ram' have come together to oust the TMC from power in the 2021 assembly elections.