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Home / Opinion / The BJP's challengers in Odisha, Bengal, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu

The BJP's challengers in Odisha, Bengal, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu

Clearly, people can see through the divisive propaganda of the party
Supporters greet Naveen Patnaik after the Biju Janata Dal's victory in Odisha assembly elections, in Bhubaneswar on Saturday, May 25, 2019
Supporters greet Naveen Patnaik after the Biju Janata Dal's victory in Odisha assembly elections, in Bhubaneswar on Saturday, May 25, 2019
(PTI)

The Telegraph   |   Published 29.05.19, 11:22 AM

Sir — The meteoric rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party in West Bengal is a bolt from the blue for the voters of this state. Although the exit polls predicted a surge of the saffron party, their conclusions were being largely disregarded because of the low sample sizes. But the poll results have revealed that around 40 per cent of the electorate have voted for the BJP. That must be a surprise, even for the party itself. The prime minister’s rallies before the polls have reaped dividends, with the Left’s vote share — plummeting from 30 per cent to seven per cent with zero constituencies won — being turned over to the BJP. The Congress, meanwhile, has managed to retain two of its four seats. Even the Trinamul Congress suffered a huge setback, losing 12 seats from their tally of 34 in 2014. The inroads that the BJP made into the state are alarming for the fortunes of the TMC, as the Vidhan Sabha elections are just 24 months away.

The BJP has done reasonably well in North Bengal and has defeated stalwarts like Subrata Mukherjee, Mausam Noor and Dinesh Trivedi. This should serve as a wake-up call for the TMC. It must focus on development work in rural areas instead of painting the state blue and white. Otherwise it will struggle in the close fight coming up in the 2021 assembly elections against the BJP, which would have been encouraged by its performance in the state this time.

Indranil Sanyal,

Calcutta

Sir — In spite of the clean sweep by the BJP in a number of Indian states, Naveen Patnaik, the Biju Janata Dal supremo, has successfully retained the trust of the people of Odisha. Like in previous polls, this time too, the BJD sought votes in Patnaik’s name. The electorate must have taken into account the clean image of the leader and his commitment to social welfare.

Yet, the elections were not completely free of tactics to lure voters. Reportedly, just before the poll dates were announced, Patnaik made a promise to reserve 33 per cent seats for women candidates. This was a clever step. He is also said to have replaced several sitting parliamentarians and lawmakers in order to beat anti-incumbency trends. However, his efficient management of Cyclone Fani — this has earned him international repute — that hit the coastal state this summer must have proved his mettle to the people.

Debabrata Guha,

Calcutta

Sir — One must congratulate the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief, M.K. Stalin, for his comprehensive victory in the Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu. Although there was a Narendra Modi wave throughout the north, it had a relatively smaller impact on the south, especially in Tamil Nadu. This victory, of course, comes in the wake of greatly reduced figures for All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which has struggled since the demise of its former leader, J. Jayalalithaa.

With this victory, Stalin not only improved his national image but also helped the Congress improve its tally during this election. He also decimated the new entrants, the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam and the Makkal Needhi Maiam. The DMK mainly won the Lok Sabha seats because of the anti-incumbency factor and the BJP’s failure to extend its base in Tamil Nadu. However, Stalin must gain a lot of ground before the assembly elections. Until then, one hopes that the democratically elected state government is left to function freely, without any attempt by the Opposition to topple it.

Prema Viswanathan,

Coimbatore

Sir — The victory of the Congress-led alliance in Kerala is heartening. The BJP has not been able to conquer the state in spite of trying to stake a claim by using the Sabarimala controversy as an excuse. Clearly, people can see through the divisive propaganda of the party.

Krishna Bandopadhyay,

Calcutta

Without a trace

Sir — It was heartbreaking to read that Malaysia’s last male Sumatran rhinoceros, named Tam, has died. With Tam’s death, the fate of the critically endangered species is in further trouble. The ravages of human greed have taken their toll: on account of decades of poaching and rapid habitat destruction, fewer than 80 Sumatran rhinos are believed to exist in the wild. It is now certainly extinct in Malaysia. The only hope to revive the species now seems to lie with the Sumatran Rhino Rescue, which aims to locate and safely capture as many wild rhinos as possible so that they can be bred in captivity. One hopes this helps their numbers increase.

Aloka Bose,

Calcutta



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