BJP parivar takes 2016 poll position

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Dec 20, 2014 14:04 IST

Can he do an UP, or even a Maharashtra, in Bengal? With his sight set on the watershed assembly polls scheduled for 2016, BJP president Amit Shah is set to roll out his juggernaut in a state where it has just two Lok Sabha MPs and a single legislator as on this date. Come February, Shah will launch his Bengal Yatra with the singular purpose of building up a well-oiled party machinery that can challenge the ruling Trinamool Congress and take a potshot at power in a year’s time.

As part of his elaborate plan, Shah will tour each of the 20 districts of the state, address party workers and draw up a blue print for party cadres at every place to take on the might of the Trinamool by the summer of 2016.

Shah’s assignment is definitely unenviable because he has already set a very high benchmark for himself: He ensured BJP victories in 73 of the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies of Uttar Pradesh this year. It was followed by the achievement of bringing the BJP to power in Maharashtra, and that too without its traditional ally, the Shiv Sena.

State BJP chief Rahul Sinha told HT, “Shah’s tour of the districts will begin on February 1 with a rally in Burdwan. Gradually, he will visit all the districts.”

The selection of Burdwan has been a well thought-out one. It was the Khagragarh blast in the district on October 2 that went on to expose the widespread jihadi terror network across Bengal and also revealed the failure of the Mamata Banerjee government in tracking and dealing with such terror outfits.

“The rally in Burdwan is aimed at assuring the Hindus that the BJP is there to save the lives of all commoners in Bengal,” a BJP leader said. Sources said the Sangh Parivar has already done its groundwork in the district and some students and professors of Burdwan University have already joined the saffron fold.

Right after the rally, Shah will meet party whole-timers who have been recently given charge of all the 294 assembly constituencies in the state. As a result, each assembly segment now has one BJP whole-timer who is functioning as a nodal operative. “Shah will interact with these whole-timers in the presence of the state leadership and work out strategies for them,” Sinha said.

“The party president’s focus on Bengal will drive home the point to our supporters that there is utmost seriousness on the part of our leadership to oust the Trinamool from power,” a senior BJP leader said.

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