Eyeing 2016 Elections, Shah to Revamp BJP in Bengal

Enthused by the party’s recent performance in the state, the BJP central leadership has drawn up a plan to successfully combat the upcoming Assembly polls

Published: 23rd July 2014 01:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd July 2014 01:41 AM   |  A+A-

KOLKATA: BJP president Amit Shah would attend a meeting of the party’s West Bengal unit to restructure the organisation and strengthen it, with a view of winning the state Assembly polls due in 2016.

Enthused by the party’s recent performance in the state, the BJP central leadership has drawn up a plan to successfully combat the upcoming Assembly polls.

Shah would attend the “chintan shibir” in the first week of August during which the party would discuss the political situation in the state and chalk out its strategy for the next Assembly polls.

According Shah, there is a need to revamp the  entire party organisation in the state, encash the youth support it received during the Lok Sabha polls and be more aggressive.

But, the party’s state unit now lacks popular, influential and acceptable leaders, who can mobilise the masses, particularly the youth. For this, the BJP central leadership is holding talks with senior leaders of other parties, who might switch loyalties. Though attacks on workers joining the BJP from other parties, allegedly by the TMC goons, are on the rise, the flow is still strong and on an average 7,500 new workers have been joining the saffron brigade daily.

The BJP had secured 17 per cent of the total votes polled for the LS elections in the state, with its two nominees here emerging runners-up. The overall results were also encouraging as the party nominees polled more than 20 per cent votes in 12 LS constituencies and around 10 per cent in 13 seats.

Over the past three years, the party’s membership in the state has increased from three to seven lakhs, while 45,000 new members enrolled in the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, its student wing. The women wing’s membership too almost doubled.

But, what is significant is the 50 per cent increase in membership of the minority wing during the period. Muslims comprise around 28 per cent of the electorate in the state and  they are the majority population in four districts. In 125 of the 294 Assembly seats, Muslims are a deciding factor during the elections.

In fact, it was largely due to the en masse support of Muslim voters that the Left Front remained in power for 34 years, till TMC chief Mamata Banerjee wrested power from them in the 2011 polls.   The LS poll results indicate that the BJP has made sufficient inroads in many rural areas,  which are dominated by Muslim voters.BJP’s state incharge Siddharth Nath Singh is optimistic about the party coming to power after the 2016 Assembly polls. “Mamata’s attack against us at a public meeting on Monday has exposed her nervousness about the BJP’s growing grip in the state. Her main effort now is to bring the TMC and the Left together as they share the same ideology (of violence and using guns,” he told Express.

He pointed out that the saffron party had a clear lead in 24 Assembly segments and came second in 26 seats in the LS polls.

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