By Milinda Ghosh Roy
Kolkata, Feb 24 (IANS) Rubbishing the Congress and the Left Front’s allegations of a secret understanding between the BJP and Trinamool Congress at the Centre, the West Bengal chief of the saffron party says political opponents were alarmed as it was on way to becoming a “deciding factor” in the next assembly polls in the state.
“There is no doubt that BJP will be a decisive factor in the 2021 assembly elections,” Dilip Ghosh told IANS in an interview here.
However, in the run-up to the fight for the state secretariat, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was focusing on a good show in the panchayat (rural body) polls next year, and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
“We are initially targeting the panchayat election where our party plans to contest every seat and fight to win so that it can reach out to every household in Bengal.
“We are also targeting over 50 per cent seats in the parliament election. We’ll make sure that when Narendra Modi-ji starts his second spell as Prime Minister, no one from Bengal can disturb him any further.
“If we can achieve what we are planning in these two elections, it would certainly have a positive perception in the people’s mind,” Ghosh contended.
The BJP leader, who was a RSS “pracharak” since his school days before joining mainstream politics just a couple of years back, said the party is getting “amazing response from all spheres of the society” in Bengal.
“People are joining our party in all the districts every day as they are attracted towards BJP’s work ethics, principle and the wave of developments ushered in under Modi’s leadership,” he said.
Admitting that the BJP has a weaker organisation in Bengal compared to a lot of other states, Ghosh said steps were being taken to activate the party and reach out to new members.
“Though the Bharatiya Jana Sangh had a base here, the party was bleeding due to the lack of proper leadership. But our 2014 initiative of giving party membership through a missed call, saw nearly 4.2 million people became party members in Bengal.”
“The party has taken various steps to engage with these new members. We have a target of training 50,000 members in the state; so far we have completed training of 30,000 members.
“We plan to have polling agents in more than 90 per cent of booths during the next election. We have increased the number of party units (mondols) from 496 to 1,054. Units comprising 60-80 booths have been created in every region to have a better control and make the whole party active,” he said.
Denying any collusion with the Trinamool, Ghosh said the recent run in with the state government shows the BJP’s readiness to fight it out for every inch of political space.
“The party might have looked for Trinamool’s support in the past in passing some bills in parliament, but that does not mean they have any collaboration,” he said.
Referring to the BJP getting over 10 per cent votes in last year’s assembly elections, Ghosh said his party has increased its political might since then.
The BJP won three seats in 2016, even as its vote share dropped from the 16.80 per cent it got in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Dismissing the allegations of the Congress and LF about the BJP’s “covert understandings” with the Trinamool, he said in politics, opponents often level such accusations to defame a party.
“But in Bengal, everyone including the party in power (Trinamool) knows how the BJP is gaining strength.”
Accusing the Trinamool government of using the minority (read Muslim) community for vote bank politics, Ghosh said the struggling community needs proper education and professional opportunities, and not special aid, for their overall uplift.
“If there is no new investment or industrialisation in the state, how would they get jobs? The state government is trying to use an entire community as their vote bank. This is an example of bad politics, he said.
The state has a 27.01 per cent muslim population as per the 2011 census.
(Milinda Ghosh Roy can be contacted at [email protected])