The campaigning for the second phase of the Bengal election ended yesterday. Polling will be held on April 30, which includes the prestigious Nandigram seat.
The current Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is facing Suvendu Adhikari, who joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in December last year just before the elections. The atmosphere is highly polarized with both sides expressing confidence of victory in the constituency.
While Suvendu has claimed that he will beat Mamta by more than 50,000 votes, Mamata’s election campaign manager claimed that she would win by 70,000 votes. The party is banking on the silent women voters who have taken advantage of TMC’s schemes.
Suvendu is an MLA from the constituency, while his brother Dibyendu is an MP from Tamluk Lok Sabha seat, which has Nandigram.
Both the Trinamool Congress and the BJP took a last-day walk to woo voters. Union Home Minister Amit Shah and actor Mithun Chakraborty did a road show in support of the officer.
“Bole Bole Nandigram, Jai Shri Ram, Jai Shri Ram,” the loudspeaker shouted the slogan at Amit Shah’s roadshow. Shah, firing saliva at Mamta, thunder:
“If Mamata Didi loses in Nandigram, Bengal wins the election.” This is the easiest way to bring Poriborton (family) to Bengal. “
Mamta dissolved the constituency by addressing public meetings. She accused the BJP of “bringing in ruffians and goons from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar” and splitting the money to buy votes.
She alleged that the BJP was using the funds and resources of the PM Care Fund to woo voters in Nandigram. She repeatedly got angry at the officer, calling him a traitor.
Adikari retorted, calling Mamta a liar. At a rally, he said, “Begum’s necklace is written on the wall.” Unhappy with Amit Shah’s famous speech in Bihar in 2015, Adhikari alleged that those who supported Mamata in Nandigram burst firecrackers when Pakistan won a cricket match against India.
As soon as Mamta’s cavalry crossed the Shah’s roadshow, she was welcomed with the slogan of Jai Shri Ram. No, this time, she did not stop his vehicle. BJP supporters put ‘Om’ flags outside their temporary residence in Nandigram. All this suggests that she is facing a tough battle.
Mamta spoke out her goutra before signing with Nandigram, continuing with her soft Hindutva pitch. “Indeed I am ‘Shandilya’,” – one of the eight supreme Brahmin ‘gotras’. Union Minister Giriraj Singh said that the Chief Minister was announcing her gotra in desperation and said that her defeat was certain.
The alleged fake voting by Prashant Kishore’s IPAC was circulated in social media groups, showing that the BJP was crossing the three-digit mark and Didi was losing in Nandigram.
Nandigram is a rural seat with predominantly 16% Scheduled Castes and 26% Muslim population. It has a population of 3.31 lakh, with 62.5% of Block I, while the remaining 37.5% of Block II. Block I has 34% minority population while Block II has just 12%.
According to an analysis by India Today, the BJP secured more than 40% of the vote share in 82 of the 278 polling stations in the 2019 general elections. TMC led in 244 of the 278 polling booths in the constituency. BJP is inherently much stronger in Nandigram Block II than Block I.
TMC got 63% (130k) votes in Nandigram Assembly seat in 2019, while BJP got 30% (62k) votes. The CPM and Congress candidates separately garnered 11,000 votes. TMC got 43% vote share, while BJP got 40% votes in the 2019 general elections.
Proprietary calculations by the author show that of the 130,000 votes the TMC received, 65,000 belonged to the OBC and general Hindu population, while 46,000 were from the Muslim community.
The BJP was mainly supported by SC, OBC and general Hindus. The party seems to have received less support in Nandigram than the overall state. The Muslim community’s vote is likely to remain with the TMC, although there is not much room for further consolidation.
If the BJP and Suvendu are able to attract half the votes of the Hindu community in 2019, which has gained due to polarization and popularity in the region in 2019, Suvendu may intimidate and upset Mamata.
If TMC got 63% of the votes in this seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, its statewide vote share was 43%, 20% of the party’s vote is due to the domination of the Adhikari family.