Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah will arrive in West Bengal for a two-day visit on Wednesday, 27 June. He is expected to participate in several party programmes and hold deliberations regarding the BJP's political strategy in the state. Shah is expected to get party leaders and workers ready for the political battles up ahead.
27 June is the 180th birth anniversary of the poet Bankim Chandra Chatterjee. Shah will interact with Bengali intellectuals at programmes organised to mark the occasion. In the evening, he will hold a meeting with members of the party's IT cell, where he will discuss ways and means of using social media to counter TMC, and will give useful tips to the party's social media army in Kolkata.
The next day, before departing for Purulia, Shah will visit Tarapeeth in Birbhum district, which is one of the 51 Shakti Peeth. He will then hold a meeting with party workers in the district.
In Purulia, Amit Shah will meet booth level workers of the party before addressing a big rally. It's said that the BJP chose Purulia for Shah's rally because it has a strong presence in the district. A BJP leader told Firstpost that the party was successful in districts of Purulia and Alipur Duar in the recently held Panchayat elections, following which Shah's meeting with booth workers was conceived.
Out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats from West Bengal, the BJP is targeting 22 in the 2019 elections. This would be a huge leap over its 2014 tally, when it managed just two seats: Union ministers Babul Supriyo and SS Ahluwalia won from Asansol and Darjeeling respectively. On the other hand, TMC won 34 seats, while CPM and Congress also won two seats each.
The BJP, however, believes that it can grow enough over the coming 12 months in order to defeat Mamata Banerjee. The BJP's target of 22 seats for 2019 would give it more than 50 percent of the state's seats.
BJP's general secretary and party's in charge for West Bengal, Kailash Vijayvargiya, claimed that the party can easily achieve this target. He said the situation in the state is against the ruling TMC. "People of the state are unhappy with the state government. This will help BJP gain politically, and it will eventually be able to win more than 22 seats in the Lok Sabha elections to be held next year," Vijayvargiya said.
Following its success in the panchayat polls, the party's hopes have taken a new leap. BJP was able to win 7,000 votes in the panchayat elections. Party leaders say that if the polls had been held in an impartial and clean manner, this tally may have even risen to 20,000.
To achieve its target, the party is focusing on expanding its organisation in the state. Shah has directed the party to go all out in building its booth level cadre. A committed army of booth level workers is being trained. The BJP also claimed that it has a booth level team of workers ready for 65 percent of the total 77,000 booths in the state.
And ensuring the party's organisational readiness will be TMC rebel leader Mukul Roy, who is working to raise a ground-level team of party workers throughout the state.
It's not only within the state that the BJP is hard at work; it's also piling the pressure on Mamata from the outside. In Delhi, BJP leaders are holding protests outside the TMC's offices every day. Leading these protests are prominent BJP leaders including state BJP president Rahul Sinha, former state party chief Dilip Ghosh and Mukul Roy.
The BJP is trying to corner the Mamata Banerjee government over the issue of deteriorating law and order in the state. It believes that political murders and failure of law and order machinery in the state is a big issue for the people. Besides that, it's also raising the issues of women's security and unemployment and using them to target the TMC. By accusing Mamata of Muslim appeasement, the BJP is also trying to divide the electorate among communal lines. The party hopes that it would be able to cover the loss of seats in other states by improving its tally in West Bengal.
For the logical conclusion to Amit Shah's 'Act East' policy, BJP will have to score big in West Bengal as well.
Updated Date: Jun 22, 2018 16:09 PM