By Mahua Moitra
May 5, 2021
Ms. Moitra is a member of the Indian Parliament from the All India Trinamool Congress, which last week defeated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party in state elections in West Bengal.
“. . . . The Bengal experience has demonstrated that the B.J.P. is not invincible, that all Indians are not attracted to the idea of a majoritarian Hindu state and that Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah are not the master election strategists they are made out to be. Despite their huge financial resources, their misuse of federal investigative agencies to target opponents and accusations that they have been buying off opposition politicians, the B.J.P. can still be defeated by a focused regional party that stays true to its grass roots and a secular, inclusive ideology.
It took a catastrophic pandemic for even Mr. Modi’s supporters to see they need oxygen cylinders more than they need a Hindu state. And it took the Bengal election for the rest of India to realize they don’t need toxic machismo. What India needs in a leader is a heart and a spine.”