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West Bengal civic body elections: How BJP is spreading it's footprint in the State?
Recently, India Today Mood of the Nation (MOTN) poll suggested that Narendra Modi still retains his popularity as India's tallest leader. Moreover, the survey further said that if elections were to be held today, the NDA is likely to win 349 seats.

This proves that even after three years Narendra Modi is not facing any anti-incumbency despite the fact that some of his tall electoral promises are yet to be delivered.

The BJP fans/followers/bhakts have their own logic. As a Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has displayed strong leadership. He is a hard working man with excellent communication skills. His fight against corruption and black-money is quite visible. Also, his welfare programs are reaching at the ground level.

However, all said and done, at the same time, I would say that the big void that exists in the opposition today has directly benefited Narendra Modi and the BJP. First of all, the so-called united opposition at present has Rahul Gandhi as the leader who is no match to Narendra Modi.

Secondly, the whole narrative of the united opposition if faulty, as it bluntly opposes Narendra Modi and the BJP in a contradictory manner. That's why the present opposition instead of adding value to democracy in the country has contrastingly become a pessimistic force. To understand this, let's analyze the recent urban body elections held in West Bengal.

I have pointed out in many of my articles that bi-elections or local body elections always favor the ruling party. Thus, TMC's performing well in the urban body elections does not come as a surprise. However, what is surprising or noteworthy is the BJP performing well. The difference in vote share between 2012 and 2017 is provided in tabular form below:

 TMC Vote Share   BJP Vote Share 
Left Vote Share  Congress Vote Share 
   2012  2017   2012   2017   2012   2017   2012   2017 
Durgapur  45.3  71.3 4.5 13.9 39.3 11.4 9.1 2.4
Nalhati 39.5  60.1 5.3 12.5 20 8.7 31.2 11.8
Dhupguri 46.9  48.8 8.6 41.7 41.1 8.6 2.5 0.7
Haldia 46.3  84.7 3.2 9.8 47.1 5.1 2.1 0.3
Pansukura 46.6 69.2 5.3 17 36.6 5.1 6 2.5
cooper's Camp 36.2  79.6 0 4.2 12.4 4.2 50.3 0

Source: TOI

Please ignore TMC's vote share for the reason that it's the ruling party and it was expected to do well (although TMC did extremely well in exceeding its vote share percentages). But note the increase in vote share of BJP in all municipalities where as the significant drop in the vote share of both Congress and the Left in all municipalities.

In fact, the 2017 vote share of BJP in Durgapur and Cooper's camp is equal to the combined vote share of Congress and Left (13.9 and 4.2) where as in Dhupguri, Haldia and Pansukra, BJP's vote share is 41.7 per cent, 9.8 per cent and 17 per cent against Left and Congress' combined vote share of 9.3, 5.4 and 8.5 per cent respectively. In Nalhati, although Left and Congress' combined vote share (20.5) in 2017 is more than BJP's 2017 vote share of 12.5 per cent, but just see the multi-fold jump in BJP's vote share from 2012 and the huge dip in Left and Congress' combined vote share from 2012.

The point is simple. The BJP is emerging as a strong alternative to TMC among voters. The Saffron Party is steadily making inroads in Bengal at the cost of Left and Congress.

The same trend is also visible in other states like Odisha, Telangana and Kerala. In Odisha and Telangana, BJP has already filled the void created by Congress. In Kerala, Congress-led UDF is now being seen as an indirect ally of Left-led LDF for which the rivalry between ruling Left government and BJP is now more public. In fact, BJP is silently eating away into Congress' share in Kerala.

In response to the findings of India Today's Mood of Nation poll, Rajdeep Sardesai tweeted: "@India Today Mood of the nation poll: there is a TIMO factor: There is Modi Only!! #NamoNation"

Honestly, Sardesai could not have explained the prevailing political scenario in more precise words. If the opposition keeps making anti-Modi rants sans any logic in 2019 also, it shall be TIMO again.

A major concern is that in a democracy a strong opposition is always a necessary requirement. Unfortunately, the present opposition is incompetent to fulfill this democratic obligation. Narendra Modi might be a very good prime minister, but lack of opposition always leads to dictatorship.If the present situation does not change, it could lead to the end of democracy and commencement of the era of one party rule in India.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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