West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during a protest in Kolkata on 10 December
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during a protest in Kolkata on 10 December | PTI File Photo

New Delhi: Prime time debates Wednesday night largely focused on the upcoming West Bengal assembly polls and the fierce battle between Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s TMC and the BJP.

On Times Now, political strategist Prashant Kishor talked about his claim that BJP will not cross double digits in the polls. Republic Bharat went all guns blazing after Mamata didi with anchor Aishwarya Kapoor remarking that the “mamata (affection)” in TMC was lost while, on News Nation, anchor Deepak Chaurasia hit out at the Gupkar alliance in Jammu and Kashmir.

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Back to Republic Bharat, and “blood-bathed politics” in West Bengal.

“In Bengal, BJP has announced its success. The picture has finally become clear just two days after Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit,” said anchor Aishwarya Kapoor, referring to multiple TMC leaders defecting to the BJP in the last few days.

Mamata is over in TMC’s own ministers. The ones who were the apple of Mamata didi’s eyes are now going far from her, finding excuses to move apart,” Kapoor added.

“If this is the outcome from Amit Shah’s visit, think what the picture of Bengal’s politics will look like when PM Modi has a virtual address for the people of the state,” the anchor said.

Times Now’s Navika Kumar was confused about introducing political strategist Prashant Kishor. So, she asked him herself, “You’re the man in the hot seat. What should I call you? Strategist of Mamata Banerjee, MK Stalin, Nitish Kumar, Arvind Kejriwal, or are you full-time babu moshai in Kolkata?”

But Kishor wasn’t keen to play her game: “I am a small time political aide to Mamata Banerjee.”

Kumar didn’t give up: “When is a person like you ever going to be seen as a small time aide when you have resurrected careers and various terms of various Chief Ministers?”

Kishor was dismissive of this as well, “We are very highly overrated, they are Chief Ministers because of their own ability.”

Kumar then asked, “You predicted that BJP will not be able to cross double digits in upcoming West Bengal… Was this bravado to keep your own flock together or was that a challenge to the BJP?”

He replied, “It is just a conviction. Amit Shah has a tremendous track record when it comes to winning elections. But, the other fact is since 2014, except for UP, Tripura and Haryana, BJP even in their victories have underperformed.”

Deepak Chaurasia, on News Nation, was occupied with another election. He asked — “How did those who sang tunes of Article 370 get defeated in J&K DDC (District Development Council) polls?”

The Gupkar Alliance — an alliance of seven regional parties opposing the revocation of Article 370 — won 13 out of the 20 districts that went to polls. The BJP won six seats in Jammu so the remark was somewhat confusing.

“Democracy has won in the valley,” Chaurasia declared.

“Those talking of Pakistan and China have been slammed. They should now realise that Kashmir and Kashmiris want development, a new Kashmir,” he added.

“Initially all of them were blaming us, now since they have won, they aren’t blaming anymore,” BJP’s Shahnawaz Hussain said.

Everyone was very confused about who actually won with Hussain then adding, “BJP and independent candidates have won against the Gupkar alliance.”

Away from elections, CNN News18’s Shreya Dhoundial was concerned about the new strain of coronavirus.

She wondered, “Given what we know of this new strain, is it time to buck up and get into war mode?”

Dhoundial asked epidemiologist Dr Jayprakash Muliyil, “We understand that this new virus is 70 times more infectious, what does this mean? Should we start worrying or panicking?”

Dr Muliyil had a rather straightforward answer, “It means that you haven’t understood it properly.”

He explained, “The mutated Covid-19 virus is catchier (infectious), but there is no need to panic. There is no evidence that the mutation has increased fatality. There is no need for a lockdown, mutations are part of every virus.”

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