New Delhi, Jan 6 : At a time when West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) is racked by desertions, here’s a definitive book on the changing political winds in the state and what it means for local governments fighting the might of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nationwide.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP pulled off an unbelievable feat in West Bengal – taking its tally of seats from two to 18 and vote share of 17 to 40 per cent in just four years. What were the reasons behind such a surge in support for the saffron party in the eastern Indian state?
In “The Bengal Conundrum – The Rise Of The BJP And The Future Of The TMC”, (Bloomsbury), senior journalist Sambit Pal attempts to explain why a state that was the citadel of Left politics for decades has turned Right in less than 10 years. Documenting the contemporary political history of West Bengal, both through written and exclusive first-hand accounts, the author answers how Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s politics and governance over the past few years set a fertile ground for the combined force of the BJP and the RSS to construct a compelling political narrative in Bengal.
As West Bengal grapples with tumultuous times – from the controversy surrounding the National Register of Citizens (NRC) to the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic – on the cusp of a crucial election, the BJP and the TMC are rolling their dices to win the strategic battle. Whether Mamata Banerjee wins or loses the 2020 state elections, it remains clear that politics in eastern India has changed irrevocably, and will be experiencing the after effects for years to come.
Author Sambit Pal has worked as a broadcast journalist for various regional (Zee, Star Ananda, Kolkata TV as a reporter) and national news channels (Times Now as its Kolkata bureau head) in Kolkata covering West Bengal politics from ground zero for over a decade. After an academic sabbatical in UK’s Cardiff University, he joined Ebela.in-ABP Digital, the news website from the Ananda Bazar group as its assistant editor.
He has documented Bengal politics, its underlying meaning, leading to the emergence of the Hindutva brigade through his regular weekly columns in Ebela.in and now in EiSamay Digital, the Bengali news portal from the Times of India group. He also writes on Bengal-related issues for various English websites.