The Bengal election result, which has produced a two-thirds victory for Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress whilst leaving the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP with a two-digit result well short of 100 seats, is a turning point in Indian politics, says Sanjay Kumar, the Director of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, one of India’s foremost think tanks.
In a 28-minute interview with Karan Thapar for The Wire, Sanjay Kumar said the Bengal outcome could lead to voices of dissent and dissatisfaction against PM Modi and the BJP crystallising in the country and growing louder. He said the farmer’s agitation could get a fillip.
Kumar said the Bengal result is “more than a setback for Mr. Modi”. He said it is a “personal setback” for the PM. He said it’s dented his image but would not say it had damaged it. He said the PM’s ability to garner votes for the party has been adversely hit and the myth around Modi has been cracked. However, Kumar said he does not believe the Bengal result will encourage criticism of Modi and Shah within the BJP.
Kumar said he is unwilling to jump to the conclusion that her two-third victory in Bengal will elevate Mamata Banerjee to the position of the premier or undisputed opposition leader in the country. He also has doubts whether the Bengal result will galvanise the opposition. The differences and, even, divisions between different opposition parties have not disappeared.