mandag 3. mai 2021

West Bengal election: Modi loses a battle in the 'war for Indian democracy'

"This is a war for Indian democracy," Prashant Kishore, a political strategist, had told me in March about the elections in the state of West Bengal. We were sitting in his office in the eastern city of Kolkata while a noisy nightclub next door throbbed with revellers, completely oblivious to the looming second wave of Covid-19 infections.

Mr Kishore was helping forge the campaign of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her regional Trinamool Congress (TMC) party in the battleground election against the might of Narendra Modi's BJP, which runs the federal government. A 45-day-long election staggered over eight phases and tightly secured by federal security forces would begin days later.

Rising above the din, Mr Kishore had explained why the Bengal election were the most significant polls in India in a while. A defeat for Mr Modi's BJP would not lessen its chances of winning the 2024 general elections, but defeat for the TMC would "almost eliminate" the chance of the opposition winning it, he said.