With an aim to make most of the 42 Lok Sabha seats that will be on offer in 2019, Shah wants his partymen and leaders to emulate none other than Mamata Banerjee
Amit Shah, the trusted lieutenant of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the man responsible for guiding the BJP to make inroads in states like Assam and Tripura where the saffron party did not have a traditional base, has given a clarion call to party workers in West Bengal. Knowing that he is up against a formidable opponent like Mamata Banerjee, who enjoys almost indomitable popularity in the state, Shah wants to take cue from Banerjee’s political struggle in the past to stun her Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the Lok Sabha election due next year.
With an aim to make most of the 42 Lok Sabha seats that will be on offer in 2019, Shah wants his partymen and leaders to emulate none other than Mamata Banerjee, according to Ananda Bazar Patrika.
Shah, who began his two-day visit to West Bengal on Wednesday, interacted with party leaders in Kolkata. During the meeting with the state BJP election committee, leaders alleged hooliganism and strong-arm tactics used by the TMC, false cases against opposition leaders, corruption, cattle and coal smuggling etc. and urged the central leadership to focus on these aspects. Replying to this, Shah said goons, smugglers and hooligans always enjoy the patronage of the ruling dispensation.
He then told the leaders that when Mamata Banerjee was envisaging her fight against the mighty Left-led CPI(M) in the state, these anti-socials were not with her. She gained credibility and trust of the masses. Subsequently, she came to power riding on that credibility factor. Shah exhorted his leaders to become more visible among the electorate and win the trust of the people, only then will the party have an opportunity to defeat Mamata Banerjee. Shah also categorically told leaders not to ponder too much on the rumoured “understanding” between PM Modi and CM Banerjee.
Grass-root Connect: Giving his own example, Shah said he had to spend 93 days consecutively outside Ahmedabad as part of his party’s campaign in Gujarat. He exhorted party leaders to spend at least 15 days in their respective districts. During another closed-door meeting of the party’s Social Media Convention, Shah asked party workers to use social media as a tool to combat the TMC government in the state and propagate the pro-people policies of the Modi government, a BJP leader was quoted as saying by PTI.
Mission 22: Shah has set an ambitious target of winning 22 Lok Sabha seats in the next year’s Lok Sabha polls and asked leaders to strive hard towards achieving it. He has also asked 15 leaders to create 37 committees which will look after the districts. Apart from this, the BJP president also pointed out the need to use online platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter to fight against the rumour-mongering by opposition parties. It has been decided that six rath yatras will be held in three phases in all 42 Lok Sabha constituencies.
Seeking to cash in on the significant mandate that the BJP got in recent panchayat polls, Shah is addressing a public meeting today in Purulia. The party had claimed that three of its supporters were killed in Purulia before and after the rural polls in the state. The BJP has named the podium, from which Shah will address the rally, “Shahid Jagannath Tudu, Trilochan Mahato, Dulal Kumar Smaran Mancha” — in the memory of its three “supporters”, sources in the party said. The TMC, however, claimed that the three men had died for different reasons.
TMC counters Shah’s visit: A public rally will be held by the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC at the same venue on Sunday to counter the BJP offensive, TMC Purulia district president Shantiram Mahato said, adding that it will be addressed by three state ministers — Suvendu Adhikary, Firhad Hakim and Sashi Panja. Reacting to Shah’s visit in the state, the ruling Trinamool Congress leadership said BJP is “daydreaming” of winning 22 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal. “The BJP is daydreaming of winning 22 seats in the state. They will lose the two Lok Sabha seats – Asansol and Darjeeling – this time. They should stop daydreaming. The people of Bengal have rejected the BJP,” TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said.