Mamata Banerjee has once again proven that she remains the most popular face of Trinamool Congress Party and continues to retain wide popularity with the masses. People have once again reposed their faith in her despite several controversies and scams that surfaced during her tenure, which many political pundits had predicted would go against her party. The results have put all that to rest.
While it is true that the late alliance between the Left Front and the Congress did work against the TMC in some pockets, by and large TMC has continued to retain its hold.
TMC’s mantra has been the party’s focus on rural development across the state and social sector schemes that people perceive as needed and not just popular sops and gimmicks, as has been the case in several other states.
The best example is Jangalmahal. This used to be one of the most backward place in West Bengal and a Maoist stronghold. During the 2009-10 period, Maoists were extending their brutal activities across the region with very little state control or development.
Mamata Banerjee and her party have successfully demonstrated what focused development can do to win local people’s support. She initiated several activities such as rural road development, adequate electricity availability and distribution, building of schools and colleges and backing it up with a Rs 2 per kilo rice scheme for the poor and bicycles for schoolgirls.
Today, Jangalmahal is peaceful and stands up as a model region of what positive development can achieve. TMC has since replicated its model in most parts, though with mixed results.
Another factor that worked in TMC’s favour has been the support that came from the Muslim community. West Bengal continues to be perceived as one of the safest states for Muslims and Mamata Banerjee has taken over what used to once be a Leftist support base. In districts of Murshidabad and Malda, where Muslims form a dominating vote bank, TMC has continued to remain popular.
Overall, TMC’s thrust on rural development (roads, bridges, electricity, schools & colleges), social welfare schemes like subsidized rice and bicycles for schoolgirls, and strong minority backing, have all proven to work for TMC, one that Mamata Banerjee will now have to expand andt further build upon.