What Impact Would BJP-TMC Clashes Have on West Bengal’s Politics?

Bloomberg News’ Harsha Subramaniam speaks to The Hindu’s Suvojit Bagchi on implications of the Kolkata violence.

2 min read

With political acrimony in West Bengal reaching a new peak in the aftermath of clashes between TMC and BJP workers in Kolkata on Tuesday, 14 May, one question that’s weighing heavily on the minds of many is how the violence would impact on the state's politics.

Speaking to Bloomberg News' Harsha Subramaniam, Suvojit Bagchi, Kolkata bureau chief for The Hindu, called the vandalism on Tuesday as "not a very big incident" per se.

“It has become big because it is during the elections and the bust of one of the iconic leaders of 19th century Bengal, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar has been demolished.”
Suvojit Bagchi, Kolkata Bureau Chief, The Hindu

Catch all the live updates on the Kolkata violence here.

The violence in Kolkata came on a day when BJP President Amit Shah held a roadshow in the state capital; just days before the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections where nine constituencies from West Bengal will be going to polls.

Asked about the political inference after such an incident, Bagchi said,

“I don’t think it would have a huge impact, but a limited impact. It may affect BJP in at least three seats of Kolkata. Not really Bengal. There are 9 seats going to polls on 19th. So that is the immediate fallout.”
Suvojit Bagchi, Kolkata Bureau Chief, The Hindu

The state of West Bengal is where one of the most bitter battles are being fought in the ongoing general elections with many speculating an improved performance of the BJP in the state.

Speaking on this, Bagchi opined,

“There’s a groundswell as far as BJP is concerned. I have seen a lot of flags, posters, banners both of Amit Shah and Narendra Modi everywhere... Nobody is denying that BJP’s vote-share will go up. And why it will go up? Because the space... the Left’s vote is continuously reducing and that space has been filled now (by the BJP).”
Suvojit Bagchi, Kolkata Bureau Chief, The Hindu

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