Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left) and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (right). (Source: BloombergQuint)

Election 2019: Is BJP A Serious Threat To Mamata?

West Bengal has turned into a keenly fought battle between Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party and the Trinamool led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

All phases of polling in the state were marked by violence between the BJP and TMC workers. The state that sends 42 parliamentarians to the Lok Sabha has seen Modi and BJP President Amit Shah campaign prolifically, exchanging barbs with Banerjee. While for BJP West Bengal could offset losses elsewhere, a good performance is crucial for Banerjee who is looking at a larger national role.

She is eyeing a major role in Delhi and to get there she needs to protect her turf, veteran journalist Aniek Paul told BloombergQuint. And she made her intentions know as early as January when she pitched for a bigger national role and hosted representatives of 23 regional parties, he said.

While the BJP has been trying to consolidate the majority Hindu vote, it will be tough beat the support Trinamool gets from Muslims who make up 30-33 percent of the voter base in the state, according to journalist Devdeep Purohit. “Didi is trying to project herself as the 'sole saviour' of the community, he said.

“There is an acceptability towards Mamata among the opposition,” says Purohit. The fight against Modi is the common ground that unites the opposition parties and Banerjee comes across as the “consensus builder”, he said.

But sensing potential cracks in an otherwise loose alliance, Banerjee has so far evaded questions on whether she will head the anti-BJP front after May 23.

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