Nisith Pramanik, a TMC turned BJP leader hailing from Cooch Behar, is now not only the youngest member of new Team Modi, but also the first central minister from Cooch Bihar town of North bengal. Shantanu Thakur has bagged the title of another first. He is the first central minister from the politically assertive Matua community that probably constitutes more than 20 per cent of Bengal’s population.
After electing 18 BJP MPs in 2019, Bengal had only two ministers of states so far. Both of them, Babul Supriya and Debashree Chowdhury, were fielded as candidates for the recent assembly elections, and both lost. Now they have been dropped from the ministry. Bengal still does not have a cabinet minister, but with the mega reshuffle conducted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the number of central ministers from Bengal has been doubled.
It is a clear signal to the fact that after the humiliating defeat Bengal is now in the focus for the BJP. A statistical analysis shows that if the people of Bengal vote in the same pattern as they have voted last March-April, the number of BJP MPs from Bengal will come down from 18 to 10. But as the opposition is slowly gearing up for a united fight, BJP will want to win at least 20 seats (out of total 42) from Bengal. For that it will have to put in much harder labour.
Two major reasons for Humiliating loss in Bengal were over-dependence on Hindi speaking leaders for campaign, and induction of quite a huge number of ex-TMC men before the election. Only 5 of these ex-TMC men won while more than 50 were fielded as candidates, mostly at the instance of Mukul Roy, who crossed over to TMC just a few weeks after the results were declared.
Apart from Pramanik and Thakur, two other ministers from Bengal are Subhas Sarkar, a popular doctor from Bankura district, and John Barla, the MP from Alipurduar. With Pramanik and Barla both becoming ministers, North Bengal has been rewarded for retaining its support to the BJP.
BJP is trying to rejuvenate its organisation in Bengal now. There are clear indications that the centre will give a lot of troubles to the Didi of Bengal in the near future. If these ministers are given such portfolios that will help them to work directly for the people, BJP may reap good benefit of this move. Narendra Modu hurt Bengal’s sentiment by not giving the state importance in his council of ministers earlier. Now that it has been rectified, its impact may be felt in future