KOLKATA: Despite the favourable conditions in West Bengal, the BJP, which failed to translate them into votes led to a brainstorming session on Wednesday, which saw party leaders blaming the state BJP leadership and demanding immediate measures to strengthen the organisation and reach out to the people to enrol more members.
The state BJP’s extended state secretariat met to discuss the outcome of the two byelections held last Friday. Leaders were happy that in Bongaon, the party’s vote share had increased by six per cent, polling 25.17 per cent, whereas in Krishnagunj, the party doubled its vote share, recording 29.27 per cent, with its nominee coming in second.
Both the constituencies, located in North 24 Parganas and Nadia bordering Bangladesh, are considered Trinamool Congress bastions and hence the TMC victory was expected. But what surprised the BJP leadership was the huge turnout of the voters in favour of the saffron brigade and the rise in the vote share barely eight months after the general elections were held. A large section of the Left votes also drifted to the BJP, which is an indication that it can surge ahead in the near future ahead of April’s Municipal polls to be held in April and 2016 Assembly polls.
The trend coupled with the public’s disillusionment with the TMC Government has enthused the BJP leadership.However, the party’s inability to have a strong mass base in West Bengal is a spot of bother to the BJP top brass. Though there is an anti-TMC wave among the voters, many state BJP leaders feel that the ruling party won because of its strong organisation even at the grassroots across the state. In many Assembly segments where the BJP had only a moderate organisational strength, the party fared well electorally. It was in sharp contrast to the decrease in the TMC votes.
Many state BJP leaders like general secretary and MLA Shamik Bhattacharya felt that in a volatile and politically polarised state like West Bengal, electoral success depended 70 per cent on organisational role during polling. They pointed out that during the former CPM-led Left Front(LF)Government’s tenure, despite the then Opposition leader and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee’s popularity, the party could never taste success due to lack of organisational might, which the Marxists had. Many BJP leaders spoke out against relying only on film stars, celebrities and public meetings by the party’s central leaders.