The Lok Sabha election results in West Bengal sent shock-waves across the country. Defying all expectations, the BJP registered a 40.25% vote-share in the state while the Left was reduced to a single digit vote-share. The saffron surge catapulted the BJP to 18 Lok Sabha seats while the TMC was reduced to 23 and the Left failed to even open its account.
The results are clearly indicative of the fact that for the first time in its history, Hindus in Bengal voted along religious lines rather than mere politics. And as the CSDS post-poll survey shows, there indeed was huge Hindu consolidation behind the BJP while Muslims rallied behind Mamata Banerjee.
BJP’s vote-share among Hindus went up from 21% in 2014 to a whopping 57% while TMC’s decreased by 8 percentage points from 40 to 32 and the Left’s decreased by a massive 23 points from 29 to 6. It is also important to note that the BJP’s vote-share increased among every section of Hindus regardless of their caste. Upper Castes, OBCs, Dalits, Adivasis voted for the BJP in far greater numbers while the vote share of other parties dropped significantly. Therefore, it was a consolidation of Hindu votes transcending the barriers of caste, class and creed.
Consequently, TMC’s vote-share among Muslims went up from 40% in 2014 to 70% this year. Although BJP increased its vote-share from 2% to 4% as well, the direction of the wind is quite clear.
It is also symbolic of a certain fact. That the Left was not destroyed by Trinamool Congress, it was destroyed by the Bharatiya Janata Party. Until now, the Bengal electorate has voted on the basis of political ideologies but henceforth, as we have said earlier, they will be voting on the basis of their religious identity.
Going forward, we can expect even more Hindu consolidation towards the BJP and a simultaneous Muslim consolidation behind Trinamool. Under such circumstances, the ideology of the Left has no takers. The Left, for all means and purposes, is dead in Bengal for the foreseeable future.