The BJP’s situation in the two states may be different but the Bharatiya Janata Party will launch its mission to win West Bengal and Bihar with a common strategy — wooing influential leaders from rival parties.
The BJP has set it eye on a couple of ministers of the Mamata Banerjee government in Bengal and has got in touch with backward Janata Dal (United) leaders in Bihar.
At least two cabinet ministers of the Jitan Ram Manjhi government in Bihar, sources claimed, are on their way to the BJP. “These leaders have been in touch with us for quite some time now. They are likely to cross over to the BJP in the near future,” a senior office bearer of the BJP in Delhi told HT.
The BJP may not be a strong force in Bengal traditionally, but the party is upbeat about the prospect of replacing the left parties as the principal opposition to the Trinamool Congress.
The BJP polled over 17% votes as compared to the CPM’s 23% in last year’s Lok Sabha election and won two seats. BJP leader say they were looking forward to the municipal poll, due this year, to expand its base and test its electoral strength. “Ministerial colleagues of Mamata Banerjee and other leaders of the Trinamool Congress may join us before the municipal elections,” he said.
“Many backward leaders of the JD(U) are at unease over Nitish’s plan to join hands with Lalu Prasad – another champion of backward politics – since the proposed alliance would leave little space for them. They have sent out feelers to us and we are negotiating with them,” a BJP leader closely associated with Bihar, said.
In a recent meeting of the core group of Bihar BJP leaders, party president Amit Shah too asked them to keep the doors open for these leaders but cautioned them against promising tickets to contest election.