After securing a thumping victory in last month’s MCD elections in Delhi, BJP has set its eyes on another civic body polls- this time it is in West Bengal. It is evident that the ruling party at the Centre wants to leave a mark and continue its growth in West Bengal after it has consistently taken second position in recently held elections in the state, according to IE report. The BJP is contesting municipalities in Raiganj, Domkal and Pujali, which will be held on Sunday. “We hope to repeat our recent performance in the municipality elections,” said BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha. BJP poll strategists are leaving no stone unturned to chalk out a successful formula. With Domkal and Pujali having a large Muslim population, the BJP has fielded 10 Muslim candidates in these two municipalities, the report says.
“In Domkal 96 per cent voters are Muslim and seven of our 20 candidates are Muslim. In Pujali we have fielded three Muslims among our 16 candidates,” said the party’s minority cell president, Ali Hossain. “Our party has received huge support from the minority community of late and many were eager to contest.” Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh expressed hope saying, “If the election is free and fair, the BJP prospects are good here.” Rima Khatun Bibi, 22, is one of the candidates. “I have always supported the BJP but never got a chance to contest an election. When I heard the BJP wanted to field Muslim candidates, I readily agreed,” she said, according to The Indian Express report.
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BJP chief Amit Shah had earlier pitched for making inroads in eastern Indian states like West Bengal and Odisha. Notably, BJP had gained second position in bypolls to both the Cooch Behar Lok Sabha seat in November 2016 and the Kanthi Dakshin assembly seat last month.
Last month, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Shah had fired salvos at each other on the last day of the latter’s three-day visit to the state where the saffron party wants to expand its footprint after a string of electoral successes. Shah had then targeted the TMC government, saying under it West Bengal had become the “most poverty stricken state” in the country, and promised to help it “flourish like Maharashtra and Gujarat” once the BJP came to power there, according to PTI report.
Banerjee, who, after decimating the Left in its bastion in 2011, has been fiercely defending her turf, accused the BJP of trying to “intimidate” her party and declared she would “capture Delhi”. “Such poverty is not there anywhere else in the country,” Shah told a meeting of booth-level BJP workers in Kolkata while winding up his three-day visit to the state.
The BJP chief who, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is being credited for the massive upswing in the party’s fortunes, winning assembly elections in several states including Uttar Pradesh, had said West Bengal was the “next” on his radar
“Ebar Bangla (West Bengal this time)…I have seen great enthusiasm among the people during my visit and I am sure that the BJP will win (elections) in Bengal,” he added. “Only the BJP under (Narendra) Modi’s leadership can provide such a government. No one else can,” he claimed, adding, “Bengal will flourish like Maharashtra and Gujarat,” the PTI report had said.