Trinamool Banking on Muslim Voters, Women to Return to Power


Voters outside a polling station to cast their vote during the 4th phase of State Assembly election in South 24 Pargana district near Kolkata on April 10, 2021. — IANS

Political analysts are of opinion that after the Sitalkuch incident Mamata has been successful in consolidating the Muslim population and this might give her a healthy dividend in the next phases of polls

Saibal Gupta

KOLKATA — Though the BJP has made a convincing dent into the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled tribe votes and the Muslim that constitute 30 per cent of the electorate, the population stands divided between Trinamool congress and The Indian Secular Front (ISF) floated by Muslim cleric Abbas Siddiqui. Yet, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is trying to bank on the women and minority votes to sail through the election this year. Considering this poll mathematics there are some seats across the state which can be considered to be safe for the ruling Trinamool Congress.

There are around 35 million women voters in Bengal that constitute nearly 49 per cent of the electorate population who will play a significant role in this election. In absolute terms among the 73,294,980 electors the number of male electors is 37,366,306 and the number of female electors is 35,927,084.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who has been in power for the last 10 years, is aware of the power of women voters. There are many seats in urban Bengal particularly in Kolkata, South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas, Howrah and Hooghly, where women voters are considerably high compared to the other districts of the state.

According to poll analysts, since the Trinamool chief has taken several steps to enhance women’s empowerment like Kanyashree the Trinamool congress is likely to do better in these areas than the other portions of the state. According to several surveys conducted in the state, of the 126 seats spread across these five districts,the Trinamool Congress is sure to get 48 to 50 seats.

“Though Trinamool did far better in the 2016 election particularly in South and North 24 parganas but as a considerable size of the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe population present in the bordering areas of these two districts have moved away from Trinamool Congress camp and showed their confidence in the saffron brigade there will be a dip in the number of seats in these two districts,” a senior Trinamool Congress leader who didn’t want to be named told IANS. “Though the party might do a shade worse in South Kolkata, including in prestigious seats like Bhowanipur and Tollygunje but they will retain their vote bank in North Kolkata and the Muslim-dominated areas like Metiabruz and Garden Reach,” he added.

The state has much of presence of tribal population in ten districts including five in North Bengal and four districts in Junglemahal. There are 28 seats in the five districts of North Bengal including Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Coochbehar, Alipurduar and Kalimpong where Trinamool could not perform well in the Lok Sabha election in 2019. With a majority of the population belonging to scheduled castes and tribes, the BJP made a strong presence in the area bagging 25 of the 28 seats. This is likely to be repeated in this assembly polls too.

Chief Minister Banerjee’s rise to power has been through the movements of Nandigram and Lalgarh but interestingly enough the tribal population of the five districts including Bankura, Purulia, East Midnapore, West Midnapore and Jhargram have moved away from Trinamool Congress and sided with the BJP. Though Mamata Banerjee has done a lot to appease the tribal voters of this region including her contesting from Nandigram in East Midnapore district but if the trend continues then there are reasons for Mamata Banerjee to worry about. There are 48 seats in this region where Trinamool Congress is likely to be sure of not more than 10 seats.

However, there are 23 seats in Greater Malda including Malda, Murshidabad, North Dinajpur and South Dinajpur where Trinamool Congress is likely to do better than the Lok Sabha election. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been continuously appealing to the Muslim population not to allow their votes to get divided. She has been trying to bring the 30 per cent of the minority population back to Trinamool to counter the BJP saffron surge.

Political analysts are of opinion that after the Sitalkuch incident Mamata has been successful in consolidating the Muslim population and this might give her a healthy dividend in the next phases of polls where 149 seats are going for the election. — IANS

Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.


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