From a massive 213 seat win for the Trinamool Congress to allegations of post-poll violence - it has been an eventful few days for West Bengal. Celebrations broke out in various parts of the state on Sunday evening as it became clear that the TMC was going to form the state government with an absolute majority. And one of the heroes of the hour is young TMC leader Debangshu Bhattacharya Dev who coined the party's now iconic slogan and anthem, 'Khela Hobe'.
"Every line of the song has come true, every stanza was accurate," he reminds us during a quick chat. Indeed, a quick perusal of the lyrics will tell you a similar story, starting with the lack of success that most defectors saw. "Never underestimate someone because she is a woman," he adds drawing a parallel with the defeat of Mahishashur at the hands of Durga.
Speaking about the contentious Nandigram seat where Mamata was initially believed to have triumphed before the Election Commission clarified that Suvendu Adhikari was the winner, he expresses disbelief. The first woman to become Chief Minister of the eastern state, Mamata Banerjee is set to take oath for the third time on Wednesday in a low-key affair. According to reports, it will be a brief event with a curtailed attendance amid the pandemic.
But while COVID-19 may be the crisis of the moment, the TMC supremo is also looking far into the future, dropping hints about a possible 2024 Lok Sabha election campaign on numerous occasions. "As a party worker I certainly want the TMC to head to Delhi. After this election, Narendra Modi will be worried by Mamata Banerjee's name. The campaign had turned into a contest between the two in the eyes of the media and public. So victory and defeat is also being associated with these two personalities," he adds.
"Taking the fight to Delhi is the natural progression, and Mamata Banerjee is gaining a pan-India acceptance among the Opposition," Debangshu opines. He voices hope that the TMC chief will be invited to join and lead the UPA.
Over the last two days however, the jubilation over TMC's win has been overshadowed by allegations of violence and vandalism. Horrific visuals have flooded social media evoking a response from top leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Several party leaders including Derek O'Brien have however dubbed this a smear campaign and "BJP intra-party fight".
"Of the news that is coming in, around 70% of that is fake news," contends Debangshu. Of the rest, he says, a large part is party-infighting as a result of the poll defeat. While he admits that TMC workers have also been embroiled in violent clashes recently, Debangshu also draws attention to some of the threatening or problematic remarks made by BJP leaders (including party state chief Dilip Ghosh) in the run up to the victory.
"They are attacking TMC. In many areas where BJP MLAs have won, our party workers have been beaten. The incidents began 3-4 days before the results were declared," he counters.