“India is a place where colour is doubly bright. Pinks that scald your eyes, blues you could drown in.”
But on the side of the frame of party politics, the electoral battles of 2021 will provide a glimpse into the character of identity-based politics. The regions, the stress between the administrations, the anti-incumbency especially in the times of a public health and economic crisis. What course will politics take?
In the southern states
The BJP is aware of its restrictions. In Tamil Nadu, where the actions of the party are still viewed with a degree of suspicion for its attachment to the Hindi language and its perceived opposition to the Dravidian movement, it is primarily wishing on its understanding with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). The challenge for the AIADMK is that it is fighting its first state elections without J Jayalalithaa, which has been in power for two terms, resulting in sturdy anti-incumbency. It is also fighting its first election after the death of M Karunanidhi. Also, with the undergoing of a people’s transition with MK Stalin as the face, it will face its own factional struggles over potential seat sharing with the DMK led alliance, including the Congress.
Although this doesn’t mean that BJP won’t unleash its shock-and-awe campaign methods. With BJP being seen as a North Indian party, and the lack of a pool of leaders, the party has been trying to break the image, bringing in more leaders and workers to help build the organisation.
The competition in Kerala is basically bipolar between the Left Front and the Congress-led alliance. The state has had a pattern of alternating between governments led by the two formations, however the success of the Left front in the recent native elections has thrown up the likelihood of this cycle breaking. This can be a high stakes election as a result of Rahul Gandhi, the member of Parliament from Wayanad, being expected to speculate considerably with the Congress campaign. However, he will have to face a troublesome incumbent within the kind of Pinarayi Vijayan, despite his proximity to the Communist Party of India leadership in Delhi.
In the efforts of trying to crack open the Kerala political matrix, it has gained restricted success and may be expected to be distant, primarily due to the entrenched political loyalties, demography of the state, and weak organisation.
In the east
There seems to be a political accord regarding the direction of the wind. There are sturdy headwinds for the TMC and tailwinds for the BJP. The sole uncertainty that exists presently is concerning the magnitude of this transformation. The massive battle of 2021 is, of course, in a province where the Trinamool Congress, led by the formidable Mamata Banerjee, who fought for many years against the Left as a contestant, must currently defend its record. No other native leader in the region matches Banerjee’s brand value. Her purpose and grasp over the bottom realities of the state are unmatched. However, while brand Mamata is Trinamool’s calling car, backed by the welfare schemes by the government, currently suffers from a set of weaknesses, that are being leveraged by BJP. Overwhelming mandates, before they’re lost, area units fritters away. This could happen on account of errors of each omission and commission.
One amongst the largest reasons why TMC is seen having a position against BJP is the sizable population of Muslims in the province. They well-grooved twenty seventh of the state’s population within the 2011 census. Minority “appeasement” is among the largest campaign planks of BJP in these elections. The party-society model of the province seeks complete domination even at the grassroots level, this makes even Muslims, who don’t need to toe TMC’s party-line, potential targets of TMC’s strong-arm techniques. whereas the ISF is probably going to be the largest beneficiary of this anger in these elections, even BJP gains from it at places.
Recognising caste as a reality may need to return too late for the CPI(M) in the province because the marginalised communities first shifted towards TMC and are currently gravitating towards BJP. With the Hindu SC-ST teams solidly lining up behind BJP and the Muslims clasp the ISF as a viable possibility against TMC, particularly if it were to lose power, any left resistance to BJP in Bengal would realize it terribly troublesome to incorporate the have-nots within the future.
But, the BJP’s biggest hope and challenge comes from the decades-old question of identity. Unlike Bengal, where there’s a degree of support for CAA and opposition to National Register of voters (NRC)
In Assam, there’s opposition to CAA ,which is seen as a trial to produce back-door entry to Hindu immigrants from Bangladesh and ambivalence towards NRC. It’s viewed as the start to differentiate the voters and the outsiders, however the imperfect NRC method within the state with tremendous humanitarian consequences has caused apprehensions; it has also deepened the divide between the Brahmaputra River and Barak Valley.
How the BJP is ready to reconcile these complicated strands, portrays itself as the party committed to autochthonous interests, even as it cultivates the Bengali Hindu vote, while constructing the Muslim as the alternative, will be the key. For the Opposition, the political task ahead can depend upon whether or not it is able to portray the BJP as opposition to the emotions of the Assam Movement. The Congress has its own challenge — associating understanding with Badruddin Ajmal will cause a consolidation of the Muslim vote, however alienating the autochthonous vote whereas the absence of associate understanding will fragment the Muslim vote.
However, on the far side of identity and organisation, the massive battle in the geographical region is between Narendra Modi — who seems to relish a high degree of recognition within the state and, who will be the BJP’s key face within the absence of a pan-Bengal leader — and Mamata Banerjee. Modi can speak of double engine growth , the Centre’s welfare schemes, and maybe an enormous promise of a development package, whereas Banerjee can concentrate on Bengali sub-nationalism, the Centre’s strike on state rights, and her own achievements of the past decade.
But, by the middle of next year, the political outlook of a number of India’s most vital political states will be clear. If the BJP wins Bengal and Assam and manages to retain influence over the state government, it’ll be another step towards its growth — and, probably, a more centralised Indian polity. If the Trinamool is able to retain Bengal, the BJP is pushed out of Assam, the DMK-led alliance wins Tamil Nadu, and no matter whether or not the victor in Kerala is that the Left or the Congress, the political message will be the continuing strength of regional forces in states against the BJP’s dominance — and, probably, associate degree assertion of states against the Centre.