BJP chief Amit Shah begins a two-day visit to Tripura, a Left bastion, from Saturday. Over the next two days, Shah will hold a public meeting, interact with prominent local voices and meet party members to discuss and formulate a strategy to challenge the Left in its remaining strongholds.
The visit is part of the 95-day plan Shah has put in place to review the BJP’s operations in areas where the party is weak. Tripura will be the third state — after West Bengal and Kerala — where the BJP is targeting the CPI(M). A look at why the party is hopeful about its ‘Left Mukt Bharat’ plan working in the state:
Anti-incumbency: Tripura has been under the rule of CPI(M)-led Left parties for 24 years. The BJP is expecting to benefit from a weariness that sets in with long-running regimes to gain a foothold in the northeast. It is weaning away leaders from other regional parties, such as the Trinamool Congress, to challenge the Left.
‘Lack of development’: BJP leaders claim Tripura has remain not developed at a quick enough pace despite a continuous, stable rule. It lags behind in several development parameters, such as health facilities and employment. During his visit, Shah will showcase the performance of Narendra Modi government and other BJP governments in the state.
Narendra Modi: The Prime Ministers remains a popular figure, and the BJP is expecting his personal image will help the party expand. It hopes that Modi’s welfare schemes, such as free LPG cylinders, will impress the electorates.
Swelling membership: BJP’s membership in the state has grown from a modest 15,000 before the Lok Sabha election in 2014 to over 2 lakh by the end of 2016. This is an increase of 14 times in three years.
Election wins: The party is portraying itself as the principal challenge to the CPI(M) after its victories in the recent by-election to the assembly. It also picked up more than 50 seats in the urban local bodies and panchayats, its best performance in the state yet.