KOLKATA: West Bengal's political scene experienced a paradigm shift in 2014 with BJP, powered by a good show in the Lok Sabha polls and capitalising on the Saradha chit fund scam and Burdwan blast, emerging as a strong force and putting ruling Trinamool Congress on the backfoot.
The political scenario was dominated by the multi-crore Saradha ponzi scam as a number of ruling party leaders including Transport Minister Madan Mitra and two party Rajya Sabha MPs Srinjay Bose and Kunal Ghosh were arrested by CBI which came as a big embarrassment to the party.
The Burdwan blast of October 2, in which two suspected Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh militants were killed, also put the state government in a tight spot with BJP chief Amit Shah alleging that Saradha money was used. However, the Centre said the probe was yet to reveal any such transaction where money was routed to Bangladesh to fund terror activities.
The Narendra Modi wave provided BJP, which was in the wilderness in the state, a thump of legitimacy in Bengal as it bagged nearly 17 per cent votes in the May Lok Sabha polls from a mere four per cent in the 2011 assembly elections.
In the multi-pronged fight, TMC emerged as the biggest beneficiary as the party took a giant leap forward bagging as many as 34 of the 42 Lok Sabha in the state.
With BJP's emergence as a force, Bengal's political equation is witnessing a change and the Left, a formidable force in not-so distant past, is being relegated to the
Candidates of CPI-M, the big brother in the Left Front, even lost their deposits in the by-elections to Bashirhat and Chowringhee assembly seats. BJP captured Bashirhat and
finished second behind TMC in Chowringhee which won the seat convincingly.
Not only from its political adversaries, the CPI-M had faced criticism from within following which the party had to expel two prominent leaders Abdur Rezzak Mollah and Lakshman Seth on the charge of "anti-party activities".
Political analysts say going by the indications there is every chance that BJP might emerge as a key player in the next year's civic polls as well as in the 2016 assembly elections.
During the year, the state also witnessed a change of guard in Raj Bhavan as veteran BJP leader Keshri Nath Tripathi was sworn in as the governor in place of M K Narayanan.