Bengal election result 2021: Women voters played an instrumental role in TMC's thumping victory

PM Modi’s widely popularised ‘Didi... o Didi’ taunts did not go down well with the women in a state where they are traditionally used to social equality
Last Updated : 04 May 2021, 06:07 IST

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West Bengal resoundingly voted the Trinamool Congress back to power for a third consecutive term in the state on Sunday.

TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee may have lost from Nandigram against former aide Suvendu Adhikari, but her party won by a landslide.

This assembly election was particularly crucial for West Bengal, because the BJP was determined to assume power in a state that has always been unfamiliar territory for them. However, their ‘double engine’ plans crumbled as they won only 70 seats, compared to TMC’s 213.

Questions remain as to how the party that made massive gains in West Bengal in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and deployed their ‘heavy weights’ Narendra Modi and Amit Shah for roadshows, albeit during the Covid-19 pandemic’s second wave, could not win over Bengal.

A huge reason for the same could be their lack of connect with Bengal’s women voters, who contributed largely to TMC’s victory, according to PTI.

Modi’s widely popularised ‘Didi... o Didi’ taunts directed at Banerjee did not go down well with the women in a state where they have traditionally been accustomed to social equality. The remarks come across as offensive in Bengali.

Mamata Banerjee’s rallies featured a huge number of women who also showed up to vote in equally large numbers.

“Mamata Banerjee has been working for women since 2011, when she came to power. This time, the women stepped out to vote for her because they want these schemes to continue,” Shashi Panja, a senior TMC leader, was quoted telling The Times of India.

Panja said women in Bengal feel a connect with Banerjee because of the welfare schemes brought forth by her to empower them.

They include schemes like Kanyashree, a scheme giving free bicycles to girl students, and Swasthya Sathi, free ration and health insurance (worth Rs 5 lakh), where the card is made in the name of a woman in the family.

Women make up 49% of West Bengal’s voters. Modi’ speeches and frequent use of Hindi words in a predominantly Bengali-speaking state has not gone down well with them either.

“In most households, women run the family, but they have to depend on others for money. Demonetization and lockdown snatched away their small savings. They had to break their lokkhir bhaar (rainy day savings kept in a piggy bank). But it is time to refill them," Banerjee had said in a rally ahead of the elections.

Published 03 May 2021, 12:36 IST

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