Top BJP leaders make frequent trips to Bengal as assembly polls approach
Apart from the frequent visits of Union home minister Amit Shah and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s national president JP Nadda to poll-bound West Bengal, other top BJP leaders and ministers of the Narendra Modi government are simultaneously making rounds of the state to bolster the party’s campaign ahead of the crucial assembly elections slated for 2021.
“It is not just Shah or Nadda. We are also expecting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to come to West Bengal even though nothing has been finalized yet. Other central leaders and ministers are meanwhile coming to campaign,” said a senior BJP leader, adding that Shah is expected to come for a week in January.
On December 20, when the limelight was on Shah, BJP’s national president of the Mahila Morcha, Vanathi Srinivasan, arrived in West Bengal and has been camping in the state since then. She has been engaged in attending organizational meetings and public outreach programs of the party.
While Srinivasan is camping in south Bengal, Union cabinet minister Prahlad Singh Patel made a trip to north Bengal on Tuesday.
“Apart from attending a chai chakra - get together over a cup of tea - to reach out to the people and spread the party’s message with an eye on the next assembly polls and attending door-to-door griha sampark campaigns, he is scheduled to address various organizational meetings,” said a senior BJP leader.
Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister Keshav Chandra Maurya was also in the state over the weekend.
The party is putting together its biggest election machinery ever in the eastern state and as a part of it, 294 BJP leaders will be arriving in Bengal from Delhi and other states to work with the local unit for polls.
They will be part of a 45-member team to be set up for each constituency; existing district committees will assist these teams, a BJP office-bearer said.
“Amit Shah and JP Nadda are expected to come to West Bengal every month. The duration of their stay is expected to get longer as elections draw nearer,” said a senior BJP leader.
Buoyed by its impressive gains in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls where the party won 18 of the 42 seats, the BJP has set a target of winning more than 200 seats in the 294-member legislative assembly.
Poll strategist Prashant Kishor, who has been roped in by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, however, has challenged the BJP saying that the party will not be able to win more than 99 seats of the state’s 294 assembly seats. On Tuesday, PTI quoted Kishor asking whether the BJP leaders will quit, if they fail to get 200 seats, a target set by Amit Shah for the 2021 elections. The Trinamool Congress had won 211 of 294 seats in the West Bengal assembly earlier.
“The BJP central leadership has imported functionaries from other states since they do not have faith in the local leadership,” Kakali Ghosh Dastidar, a three-time TMC MP had earlier said.