Mamata steadily regaining ground lost to BJP

Not only has Mamata been able to stop defections from the TMC to the BJP, but also has surged ahead of the saffron party in terms of public outreach with her Didi Ke Bolo (Speak to Didi) initiative.

After facing a severe setback in the Lok Sabha elections with the BJP winning 18 seats in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is steadily regaining lost ground.

Not only has she been able to stop defections from the TMC to the BJP, but also has surged ahead of the saffron party in terms of public outreach with her Didi Ke Bolo (Speak to Didi) initiative.

Let us first look at how the TMC supremo has been able to deal with defections to the BJP:

Riding high on its success in the Lok Sabha elections the saffron party was able to rope in five sitting TMC MLAs and several TMC councilors thus wresting control of seven municipalities from the TMC.

But soon, Mamata started turning the tables on the BJP. The turncoat councilors started returning to the TMC in large numbers and the ruling party in the state has now regained control of all the seven municipalities.

The BJP faced another setback as at least 1,500 booth-level leaders of the TMC with excellent oraganisational ability who had earlier switched to the saffron party have gone back to the TMC.

The reason for concern for the state BJP leadership is that it is these booth-level leaders who had actually swung the votes during elections; a common feature of West Bengal politics.

TMC sources revealed that these councilors and local leaders came back to their old party because they are apprehensive that the BJP will loose its momentum in the 2021 Assembly elections.

"Despite its initial success with the cut money (bribe to access government schemes) issue, the BJP has failed to capitalise on it. Moreover, the panic over NRC in Bengal has adversely affected its momentum in the state. So these leaders were not sure of their political future in the BJP,” said a senior TMC leader.

He also said that those TMC leaders who switched over to the BJP expecting to get key posts in the party were disappointed and hence decided to return to the TMC.

Recently former TMC minister Sovan Chatterjee who had joined the BJP has started distancing himself from the saffron party alleging that he is not getting his due importance.

The Speak to Didi initiative has played a key role in the TMC regaining lost ground in the tribal dominated Lok Sabha constituencies of Purulia, Bankura and Jhargram, all of which were won by the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections.

The TMC has been able to address the grievances of locals to a great extent through the initiative.

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