Amit Shah Mamata Banerjee
Amit Shah [L] and Mamata Banerjee [R] Image Credit: AP/PTI

The exit polls with a chequered history of getting things wrong seem unanimous that Bihar wants Tejaswi Yadav and has had enough of Nitish Kumar.

Will one career take off and another career end in political ignominy?

We will know on Tuesday if Tejaswi Yadav is the first gen-next mass leader at 30. We will also know the “Bihar hawa” (wind) which will affect the Bengal elections now barely some months away.

Bengal really is the big fight between embattled chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Amit Shah, Union Home Minister, whose big dream is to win Bengal for the Sangh and secure his place in Sangh history as the man who first delivered Kashmir and then Bengal.

Shah virtually did not campaign in Bihar, but last week spent two days in Bengal eating in a tribal karyakarta’s (worker) home. Reaching Kolkata he immediately launched a high pitch political brawl with Didi. Bengal is a personal grudge match between the two - Didi and the win-obsessed Dada (Shah).

Even Shah’s old adversary, Prashant Kishor, the ideology agnostic political consultant who worked for the Modi campaign in 2014 before being forced out by Shah, is working for Mamata in mission 2021.

Shah has to be given credit for dreaming big in Bengal and getting the BJP a massive haul of 18 seats in the last Lok Sabha elections in 2014. Shah then had made Kolkata his weekly destination.

Banerjee must be rueing the day she launched an all-out attack on the Left and virtually finished it in Bengal. Terrified workers of the Left, aghast at the assault, had no choice but to join the BJP. Banerjee’s plan of total decimation of the Left created a vacuum and pretty much built a space for BJP. The Congress has long been in terminal decline in Bengal, something which Banerjee does not want changed despite cries of the Opposition to come together.

Banerjee knows what’s coming and seems to be prepared for the biggest battle of her political career.

- Swati Chaturvedi

Bengal is a bare, knuckle street fight between the original street fighter who took bloody blows to the head from the Left - Mamata Banerjee and Amit Shah who does not believe even in an inch of concession.

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which has been on the back burner, will soon be on a simmer again. The BJP’s beloved Hindutva issues are being dusted off. A law on what they call “love jihad” (interfaith marriage) and of course the CAA. Plenty of identity issues are on the anvil.

Banerjee knows what’s coming and seems to be prepared for the biggest battle of her political career. While she is facing anti-incumbency, she is banking on the daughter of the soil image she has cultivated so carefully over the decades. And, for Banerjee, she is living her dream of being the big boss of Bengal after destroying the Left.

Shah is armed with an unlimited war chest and all the ammunition that being in the Centre gives. This is going to be the most impossible battle.

May the best Dada or Didi win.

Swati Chaturvedi, Special to Gulf News-1592296808900