Bengal BJP has task cut out before assembly polls

  • Ravik Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Apr 29, 2015 01:40 IST

The Modi wave was evident last year when the BJP surged ahead to hold centerstage in Bengal politics. However, as the civic poll results were announced on Tuesday, it revealed that the party has an uphill task before it faces the Assembly polls next year.

The party, which failed to win a single civic body in the state, won seven seats in Kolkata Municipal Corporation. In districts, the party could only get a few seats in different municipalities.

“The results are not satisfactory. But I will say that the BJP progressed where as others came down. In Kolkata we won seven wards. In Bankura, Purulia and other areas we had won seats,” said state BJP chief Rahul Sinha.

“Violence and terror has been the order of the poll days... It will be the election commission of India which will conduct the (Assembly) polls,” Sinha said.

After the Lok Sabha polls the party enjoyed unprecedented success in Bengal winning two seats and bagging 17% vote share (from just 6% in 2009). Later in a bypoll BJP’s Samik Bhattacharya won in Bashirhat Dakshin MLA seat.

However later in Krishnagunj and Bongaon Lok Sabha by polls, BJP failed to get even one seat. Its vote percentage rose from 14% to 29% in Krishnagunj and 19% to 25% in Bongaon Lok Sabha seat (as compared to 2014).

Even before the civic polls, the lack of organisation and party infighting became evident. “We were not prepared. We lacked organisation. Moreover there was infighting. Party state leadership failed to work things out. In almost all districts there were a large section of leaders who openly spoke against party state committee,” said a BJP leader of South 24 Parganas.

The party, which has targeted 50 lakh membership as a part of nationwide membership drive, is yet to prove itself at the grass root level. Setting up of booth level committees has also not picked up well in the state.

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