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Islamic Jihadism In West Bengal
Times of India

KOLKATA: The meteoric rise of the BJP - corroborated by its share of votes rising from 4% in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls to 10% in recently-concluded parliamentary bypolls in Jangipur - has given a new dimension to the political equation in the state. While some political analysts believe the BJP is no longer a "small" party in Bengal, others feel it is only cashing in on the tussle between major parties. Some, however, argue it's too early to jump to any conclusion. Whatever may be the case, the BJP's smart run has certainly made the situation uncomfortable for other parties.

Former Presidency College principal and political science teacher Amal Mukhopadhyay feels the break up between the Trinamool Congress and Congress was providing oxygen to all fringe players. "Add to it local factors like Abhijit Mukherjee lacking his father's stature and the Trinamool-led government's rather arguable minority development focus, which is polarizing voters on religious lines," he explains.

Congress's Murshidabad strongman Adhir Chowdhury seems to agree with Mukhopadhyay. "It's true Abhijit lacks the charisma of Pranab Mukherjee. Plus, the anti-incumbency factor and a nearly 2 lakh electorate, who are migrant labourers, didn't vote this time. This went against us," he says. Adhir, however, adds, "Jangipur Town has always had a strong BJP presence. The BJP campaign on AMU land acquisition did have an impact. So did CPM's communal pitch of a son-of-soil campaign versus an outsider (read Abhijit). But yes, Congress has lost a significant portion of its Muslim votes here."

Some feel BJP's double-edged campaign on land acquisition for the proposed Aligarh Muslim University and the alleged "minority appeasement" policy of all mainstream political parties helped them garner 85,857 votes. But the key question now is whether such polarization of votes will limit itself only to Jangipur - which has 71% Muslim population - or spill over to other parts of the state.

BJP state president Rahul Sinha claims this isn't a one-off case where the BJP has benefited. He argues that even in the recently concluded assembly bypolls in Daspur and Bankura, the BJP had gained by nearly 2% votes. Consider this with the BJP opening its account in Durgapur, Nalhati and Dhupguri and getting 8% votes in Jalpaiguri, 6% in Panskura and 4% in Haldia in the recently concluded civic polls.

The growth which Sinha cites is nothing new. In the 2011 assembly polls in Jangipur, BJP had polled 4.14% of the votes compared to a measly 2.33% when Pranab Mukherjee won the parliamentary elections there in 2009. But from 4.14% to 10% is a jump which can upset all pre-poll calculations. In Jangipur, for example, similarly poised in the race with the BJP are the two minority-backed parties - Welfare Party of India (41,620) and Hafeez Mansoor Ali Khan's Social Democratic Party of India (24,691) - whose share adds up to 66,311 votes. The near 19% vote share of the BJP and the minority-backed parties in a near 58% polling clearly displays a game of diminishing returns for other major contenders.

Samir Das, NBU vice-chancellor and a political science professor, feels it is too early to broadbase BJP's increased vote tally in Jangipur to the whole of the state. "It is too early and the 2014 Lok Sabha polls are way off in electoral terms. But to me, it appears that political parties across the board will now have to decide on their strategy on the issue of immigration or undocumented migration. Jangipur borders Bangladesh. This is impacting the demography and polity of such belts. They have to take a stand now," he says.

Trinamool MP Sultan Ahmed says: "Voting is affected by political decisions, it has nothing to do with religion. See what happened to Congress in Uttar Pradesh even after they promised 4.5% minority reservation, or the religious group called Peace Party which could garner only four seats. The Trinamool didn't have a candidate there, so all the pro-Trinamool votes helped the non-Congress parties. This has also to do with our anti-Congress pitch. There is no question of appeasement. When we were part of the NDA, the BJP had benefited likewise in Bengal. But in the elections that followed, they had a share of just of 4% of votes polled."

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Islamic Jihadism In West Bengal - by Guest - 07-11-2009, 08:15 AM
Islamic Jihadism In West Bengal - by Husky - 07-12-2009, 05:47 PM
Islamic Jihadism In West Bengal - by Husky - 09-24-2009, 09:43 PM
Islamic Jihadism In West Bengal - by Husky - 09-05-2011, 07:12 PM
Islamic Jihadism In West Bengal - by Husky - 09-05-2011, 07:15 PM
Islamic Jihadism In West Bengal - by G.Subramaniam - 10-15-2012, 06:40 AM
Islamic Jihadism In West Bengal - by Husky - 01-20-2014, 06:22 PM
Islamic Jihadism In West Bengal - by Husky - 06-09-2014, 09:55 PM
Islamic Jihadism In West Bengal - by ravish - 10-22-2014, 12:33 PM

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