With lessons from Bihar, the BJP is giving “finishing touches” to its strategy for the West Bengal assembly elections due in April-May next year, party sources said on Wednesday.
The NDA has won 125 seats in the 243-member Bihar assembly, results of which were declared on Tuesday. The BJP, after bagging 74 seats, has emerged as the second-largest party in the state, with a tally much higher than its ally JD (U)’s 43.
The saffron party has set a target of winning more than 200 seats in the 294-strong Bengal assembly.
With Bihar done and dusted, the BJP will now shift its focus to politically crucial West Bengal, which sends 42 MPs to the Lok Sabha, two more than Bihar, they said.
The BJP, which has made deep inroads in West Bengal by winning 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state in last year’s elections, four less than the ruling TMC, was waiting for the Bihar election results before beginning its “final assault” on the Mamata Banerjee government, party sources said.
BJP national general secretary and the party’s West Bengal minder, Kailash Vijayvargiya, had on Tuesday asserted the victory in the state will be “much bigger” as the “party will storm to power with a two-thirds majority”.
“The people of West Bengal are fed up with the misrule of the TMC and they want a change,” he said.
BJP state chief Dilip Ghosh echoed him, saying, “After Bihar, it will be West Bengal for the BJP.” “The saffron wave witnessed in neighbouring Bihar will sweep away the TMC in West Bengal too. The difference between the elections in the two states, however, is that we were in power in Bihar for nearly 15 years but in West Bengal, we are a challenger,” Ghosh said.
A section of the state BJP leaders, however, underlined that the Bihar election results will have little impact on polls in West Bengal, other than seats along the border, but it will act as a “morale booster” for party workers in the state.
Several state BJP leaders said the party, taking a cue from the Bihar poll results, will “re-strategise” its campaign issues for the West Bengal elections.
To corner the TMC, the BJP had been so far stressing upon alleged misrule, law and order issues, violence, corruption and the state administration’s handling of the COVID-19 situation.
“The Bihar election results have shown that issues like unemployment and migrant labour crisis are also important in several seats. So, we need to stress upon these problems as well.
“As Bihar was the first state to go to assembly elections after the COVID-19 outbreak, there are a few things all of us need to learn from the polls,” a senior West Bengal BJP leader said.
Although the BJP has the advantage of being an “untested challenger”, the party is well aware that it will be up against mighty Mamata Banerjee, who has a reputation of being a street-fighter politician, party sources said.
“If RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav can put up such a fight, it is for anyone’s guess the kind of contest we will face in West Bengal,” another state BJP leader said.
As per the parliamentary poll results, the saffron camp had bagged 40.5 per cent votes and was ahead in more than 125 assembly seats in the state.
The central BJP leadership has asked the state leaders to fan out to the districts and organise agitations and mass mobilisations on issues the people are concerned about, before the Congress and Left Front capitalises on those problems, BJP sources said.
“People will see several agitations in different assembly segments over local issues from November-December onwards,” a BJP leader said, adding the party is also working to plug the gaps in its organisational strength in some districts.
The ruling TMC, however, mocked the saffron party’s target of winning more than 200 seats in the state.
“As far as coming to power in West Bengal is concerned, the BJP is still living in the fool’s paradise. The party will lose deposits in most of the seats,” TMC MP and spokesperson Saugato Roy said.
Source: Free Press Journal