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Lok Sabha elections 2019-‘Bengal results will be a big surprise’: Himanta Biswa Sarma

Sarma alleged that the Trinamool Congress-led government in the state is resorting to appeasement politics that was bound to hurt its chances in the elections.

lok sabha elections Updated: May 17, 2019 18:46 IST
Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Lok Sabha elections 2019,Himanta Biswa Sarma,BJP
The senior Assam minister predicted the BJP will get about 20 seats in the state when the results of the elections are declared on May 23. (Photo by Subhankar Chakraborty/ Hindustan Times)

West Bengal will throw up a “big surprise” in this summer’s Lok Sabha elections by giving the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) an impressive seat tally, even up to 22 out of the 42 seats in the state, North-East Democratic Alliance convener Himanta Biswa Sarma said in an interview.

Sarma has been camping for two weeks in the state, where the BJP is trying to make inroads as it battles the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) to broaden its electoral base.

“The behaviour of Mamata Banerjee in the last 48 hours has convinced me that Bengal is headed for a big surprise,” Sarma said in Kolkata, hours before BJP chief Amit Shah held a massive roadshow in the state capital (a roadshow that saw clashes between supporters of the two parties). In the seventh and last phase of elections on May 19, voting will be held in nine parliamentary constituencies in the state that has seen political violence in the previous rounds of polling.

Also read: People fed up with Trinamool, mood in Bengal is for change’, says Himanta Biswa Sarma

Sarma alleged that the Trinamool Congress-led government in the state is resorting to appeasement politics that was bound to hurt its chances in the elections. “I think people are fed up with the appeasement kind of politics,” he said.

He said the Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) will disappear from the political landscape in the state, making way for a direct clash between the BJP and the Trinamool. “Post May 23, Bengal politics will be a straightforward match between the TMC and the BJP. Congress and CPI(M) will disappear further. The process of dismantling will further expedite. By the law of nature...”

Sarma, who leads one of the 20 special teams deployed by Shah with a special focus on West Bengal, also reiterated his party’s stand on the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which has triggered protests in the north-east and invited criticism from the Opposition.

“What our party president is saying [is] that ‘first pass the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which will give citizenship to Hindu, Christian, Buddhist minority of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Then you do NRC [National Register of Citizens] to find out the illegal migrants’,” he said.

The senior Assam minister predicted the BJP will get about 20 seats in the state when the results of the elections are declared on May 23. The party currently holds two parliamentary constituencies in the state. “I’ll be very conservative and I’ll say the number will be 20 plus-minus 10%. That will be my own assessment, but party cadres here have said that it won’t be less than 22,” he said.

First Published: May 15, 2019 07:21 IST

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