KOLKATA: The BJP in Bengal feels that the bypolls in Kaliaganj and Karimpur Assembly seats will be a litmus test for the party, post the publication of final National Register of Citizens (NRC) list in Assam, as both the constituencies comprise of a significant Muslim and Dalit population.
The Left-Congress alliance is campaigning using the NRC and the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) as a political tool with Trinamool, too, adopting the same tactic to combat the BJP.
The saffron camp has activated its ground level foot-soldiers in full swing to win over the hearts of the Hindu refugees by assuring them none of them would have to leave the state as the CAB would protect them.
Most of the Dalits in the two seats are refugees with their descendants, who fled to India during 1971 partition hailing from Bangladesh.
Both Kaliagang and Karimpur Assembly seats have more than 40 per cent Muslim population and among the rests, more than 80 per cent are Dalits.
The results of the by-elections in three Assembly seats, Kaliaganj, Karimpur, and Kharagpur(Sadar) will be an indication of which way the political winds are blowing in Bengal.
All three major outfits in the state admitted that the by-polls will have massive political ramifications as it will be held in the backdrop of BJP’s performance in the recent Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana, and the shadow of the proposed implementation of NRC and tabling of CAB.
Though the party is confident about its victory in Kharagpur (Sadar) seat, a certain section of the party leaders is expecting a tough fight.
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh, though, is confident about his party’s victory in all three seats. “The people of Bengal have made up their mind to oust Mamata Banerjee’s government. They have no alternative political forum to support, other than the BJP,” he said.
State unit wants CPF involved
The Bengal BJP requested the Election Commission (EC) to deploy central police force (CPF) personnel across all 801 polling booths on the day of Assembly by-elections, scheduled to be held on November 25, citing incidents of violence during the Lok Sabha polls held earlier in the year.
The party leaders met chief electoral officer Ariz Aftab in Kolkata and demanded CPF’s deployment alleging the deteriorating law and order situation in the state.
In another meeting between the state government officials, the representatives of the Bengal government claimed the BJP’s allegation was not a reflection of the ground reality, claiming that the state police personnel is more than competent to conduct the by-polls.