Having fought a bitter campaign trying to counter the BJP’s Hindutva rhetoric with conch shells and Sanskrit shlokas, but finally managing to hold on to all nine seats in the seventh phase, apparently on the back of Bengali sentiment following vandalism of an Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar statue in Kolkata, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) is back to the drawing board. And instead of playing along religious lines, and handing the BJP an advantage, the party has decided to pitch itself as a “Bengali” party – pitted against the influx of “non-Bengalis” of BJP.
Newly elected Kolkata North MP Sudip Bandopadhyay, who is also TMC’s leader in Lok Sabha, said: “Eighty-six per cent of people in West Bengal speak Bangla, and that ‘Bengaliness’ is under threat with the advent of BJP. The charge of appeasement against us is not right. Red Road was once known as a place for Eid namaz; now it is also known for the Durga Puja carnival that has assumed such proportions that it will soon get international recognition.”