ATTENTION AMIT SHAH: MAMTA BANERJEE WARMS UP TO THE MARXISTS

The new political strategy to win 2021 elections is paving its way for Trinamool Congress in West Bengal.

ATTENTION AMIT SHAH: MAMTA BANERJEE WARMS UP TO THE MARXISTS

Ms.Mamta Banerjee, TMC chief and chief minister of West Bengal, has become a softer, pleasanter person, especially to her arch rival CPI(M).

Why? The TMC's poor show in the Lok Sabha polls recently saw the BJP snatching away 18 of the 42 seats in the state, just four less than the ruling Trinamool Congress. She has, therefore, little alternative but stop crowding out the CPI (M) from the state's political space.

This called for a fresh turn in TMC's applied politics. Ms.Banerjee knows that unless she finds an ally in the CPI (M), her chances of coming back to power in the assembly elections, scheduled to take place in the next two years or earlier, are slim.

Most of the roadblocks that Ms. Banerjee finds herself running against are her own making. Her angry outbursts to chants of 'Jai Shri Ram' during and after the Lok Sabha elections; her initial threats to agitating junior doctors; her instructing the local TMC leader to return "cut money" (bribe ) turned out to be fodder for the BJP cannon.

Since the TMC's landslide victory in 2011 assembly elections, political violence, incidents of murder, destruction of houses, false cases and other forms of terror have been common. The insensitive administration and its complete surrender to the ruling party's whims have been repeatedly exposed.

Even in those cases where the TMC hooligans have been directly held responsible for violence against the Left in the state, the administration and the police have been partisan.

Many CPI(M) senior leaders like Mr. Biman Basu, Mr. Kanti Ganguly, and others have been booked under severe charges like Provision Against Unlawful Activities.This caused many leaders to go underground and is one of the chief reasons for the party's slump in its youth wing membership.

The Trinamool Congress has always used its money, muscle and administrative power to win elections. The opposition had to file nominations through email and WhatsApp, which is unprecedented.

Be it the 2013 panchayat poll, the 2014 Lok Sabha election, or the 2016 assembly and 2018 panchayat polls,the CPI(M) workers were attacked whenever they tried to reopen their offices.

But that situation seems to have changed now. The Nandigram office, for instance, was vandalized, set on fire and locked up by the TMC at the peak of the agitation led by Ms. Banerjee. The move to open the office now has been openly supported by the party leader, Mr. Suvendu Adhikary.

Reportedly, it is the ruling party's strategy to show no resistance, because if the CPI(M) can hold on to its voter base, the BJP will gain less.

The post-parliamentary election debacle has now brought a new turn in Ms.Banerjee's political strategies.

Around 1500 cases have been withdrawn by the TMC members filed against the Left workers. Ms.Banerjee has instructed her rank and file to be less arrogant and more helpful in their public interactions.

Ms. Banerjee is known to possess a unique combination of political shrewdness and aggression.These are the qualities that helped her oust the once-mighty Left Front from the state and even propped her as a major opponent against the prime minister, Mr.Narendra Modi. It remains to be seen if she will be able to pull off the trick again.She will be sorely tested by the BJP, especially its chief strategist, Mr. Amit Shah.