For Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its right wing politics of neo-nationalism, liberal economic policies and even pro-Hindutva religious slant, poll-bound West Bengal offers more than a Herculean challenge and jigsaw puzzle.
Even as the saffron party's electoral fortune surged ahead in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, slowly the party leaders are realising that at several quarters in the on-going assembly polls, more than the organisational weaknesses, the saffron party faces "basic ideological barriers".
Culturally and intellectually, Bengali voters are "essentially pro-Left", say those in the know of things. "The fact that Bengali voters and even other citizens in the state remained pro-Left ideologically, culturally and intellectually it make things difficult for BJP in West Bengal unlike neighbouring Assam where the pro-Hindutva slant actually always had acceptance among upper caste Assamese voters," says one leader.
Thus the saffron party poll managers believe that while the party is near the striking distance in Assam, despite all efforts to woo the voters as against the non-performance of the Left and even Mamata Banerjee-headed Trinamool Congress, BJP finds the going tough in terms of winning over seats. In Assam, upper caste Hindus could relate to Brahminical appeal of the RSS and the BJP unlike in West Bengal where "ironically upper caste Bhadrolok" have been associated with the Marxist politics for decades now.
In fact, other than BJP leaders, even Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav, a former associate of BJP and onetime convener of NDA, says, "Indian leftists cold not make much headway in northern states as they could not appeal to backward and lower caste groups. Thus these lesser privileged communities flocked to the socialists block".
In the Bengal context, even the state Governor K.N. Tripathi told a seminar in February this year in Kolkata that while higher educational institutions are becoming hubs of politics, "the role of the students organisations should be changed. It is to inform and to make the students aware through lawful means. This is a factor which needs to be taken care for the larger interest of the society".
Many see Governor's remarks this as commentary on violence-oriented political culture in West Bengal -- which again largely draws inspiration from communists way of looking at things. Trinamool MP and former union Minister Sishir Adhikari has merits in his analysis: "Under Marxists misrule and when Singur and Nandigram happened, people of Bengal saw us as the genuine followers of communists ideology. That was the turning point of Bengal.
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This was when, he pointed out, Trinamool leaders started mocking CPI-M leaders as "pseudo followers" of Karl Marx.
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