Left, Right...

The Rise Of The  Bharatiya Janata ( BJP ) in West Bengal is a complex phenomenon. How a 'secular' state ruled by  the  CPI(M)-dominated Left for more than three decades has witnessed the upsurge of majoritarian Hindutva politics? There is no simple answer to this question.

A recent field study from the Purulia district in West Bengal noted 'Purulia has a large, economically powerful Marwari community, which locals say has always favoured the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). However, this is the first time they have an organised political platform in Bengal—a platform they can support in the forthcoming general elections'.

Most political analysts count Purulia as one of Bengal's districts where the BJP has managed to fire people's imagination. Once a stronghold of the All India Forward Bloc, the Left is nearly invisible on the ground today. A narrative that appears to hold true for most, if not all, parts of Bengal. (See Monobina Gupta, Ground Report, TheWire, February 27, 2019)

How the political space in West Bengal got transformed from Left to Right cannot be understood without having a nuanced reading of the parameters of 'Left' politics in West Bengal as well as the parameters of micro-politics of mobilisation being pursued by the BJP in different parts of West Bengal.

The thesis of the dominant Left—the decade-long (2011-2021) misrule of the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress prepared the base of the BJP in West Bengal-cuts no ice in the popular mind. The question unaddressed by the Left is why a large section of its own erstwhile supporters voted for the BJP in the last parliamentary elections held in 2019.

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Vol. 53, No. 37, Mar 14 - 20, 2021