The formation of INDIA, a coalition comprising 26 opposition parties, has introduced a complex political landscape in West Bengal, posing new challenges for the Trinamool Congress, Congress, and CPM. These three parties, who have been engaged in fierce competition against each other for the last 30 days, now find themselves navigating their positions within INDIA, raising pertinent questions about their stance ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The CPM leadership in Bengal has taken a distinct approach, clarifying that they will continue to contest against the Trinamool Congress in the state but will be part of the national alliance at the Centre, akin to the model followed in Kerala. However, other political parties involved in the alliance face the task of communicating their positions on the national alliance to their grassroots workers and voters. Failure to do so might potentially benefit the Opposition BJP, according to political experts.
The overlapping competition between these three parties in Bengal, coupled with images of Mamata Banerjee sitting alongside Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi during the national alliance meeting in Bengaluru, has drawn sharp criticism from the BJP. The situation has put these parties in a delicate position, with their actions and decisions being closely scrutinized by both supporters and opponents.
CPM state secretary Mohd Salim reiterated the party’s stance of opposing the BJP at the national level and the Trinamool Congress in the state. “The party’s position has been clearly defined in the party congress. Since 2015, our objective has been to defeat the BJP at the national level and the Trinamool Congress in the state,” said Salim.
Despite the show of unity at the national level, the alliance may not necessarily translate into success for the CPM in Bengal. Political analyst Subhamoy Maitra expressed the concern that when multiple political parties come together in an alliance, it may not always result in vote addition. In fact, it could lead to vote subtraction, where voters who oppose one party in the alliance end up voting for another party outside of the alliance. This intricate political arithmetic can have significant consequences and may prove detrimental to the alliance’s prospects in certain constituencies.
Maitra explained, “If in a constituency, CPM, Congress, TMC, and BJP are contesting, and if CPM and Congress are in an alliance, then Congress supporters, who oppose the CPM, may vote for TMC. As a result, the alliance could end up with a negative outcome. This illustrates how political arithmetic works, and the outcome could be less favorable than expected.”
The current political dynamics in West Bengal are likely to present a tough challenge for the Trinamool Congress, Congress, and CPM as they navigate their way through the Panchayat election and approach the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Balancing their positions within the national alliance while contesting fiercely against each other at the grassroots level will require astute political acumen and strategic maneuvering.
The BJP, on the other hand, is closely monitoring these developments and positioning itself as the main opposition force against the incumbent government in West Bengal. The party is eager to exploit any potential disarray within the opposition alliance and capitalize on any internal conflicts among the three parties.
As the political landscape continues to evolve in West Bengal, the ability of these parties to reconcile their conflicting interests and present a united front against the BJP will play a pivotal role in determining their success in the upcoming elections. The alliance’s ability to effectively communicate its vision and goals to the electorate will also be crucial in winning the trust and support of voters across the state. As the electoral battle intensifies, political calculations and alliances will continue to evolve, shaping the future of West Bengal’s political landscape.