Having made significant gains in the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP has set its sights on winning 250 of the 294 assembly seats in the elections scheduled to be held in 2021
The Bharatiya Janata Party has set out on a mission in West Bengal. Buoyed by the gains made in the state during the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, the BJP is now eying 250 seats in the 295-strong Assembly in the state which goes to polls in 2021. At the heart of the saffron party’s larger game plan is a two-pronged strategy which has already been put in place.
The first deals with strengthening its organisation on the ground level. The BJP knows its popularity is on the rise in the state and promises like the implementation of the National Register of Citizens and the Citizenship Amendment Bill can address the issue of the influx of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in the state. This is one area that the BJP can use to seek greater acceptability within voters, and simultaneously expand its base in the state. The promise of industrialisation and development are two other promises that are part of this same plan.
This strategy has delivered for the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections which saw the party reach its highest tally in the state. While the TMC pulled out all stops to align itself with Bengali pride, the BJP chose to connect with the voters by addressing issues that matter to the Bengali populace.
The party won 18 seats against 22 of the TMC, increasing its vote share from around 17% to 40%. In the last elections, the party had won only two Lok Sabha seats. The BJP hopes to replicate this success in the Assembly elections as well to displace the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government from power. Promises like NRC and Citizenship Amendment Bill align with the BJP’s narrative of nationalism and identity and it is banking on these promises to see it through in the 2021 elections as well.
The second part of the plan involves roping in leaders who enjoy considerable support from the masses. The initiation of the plan was visible when 17 of the 30 councillors in Darjeeling joined the BJP recently and the corporation came under the control of the saffron party. This is the third municipal corporation to fall under the BJP’s control after the results to the Lok Sabha elections were declared.
Bhatpara and Naihati municipal corporations are already under the BJP’s control, although CM Mamata Banerjee has chosen to install an administrator instead of the Mayor nominated by the BJP. The Chief Minister has said that the appointment was unnecessary as the polls to local bodies would get underway soon.
“We had set a target of 23 seats in West Bengal in the Lok Sabha elections and we won 18. Our next target (for Assembly elections) is of 250 seats. We will draw up our election strategy and will leave no stone unturned to achieve this target,” BJP general secretary and in-charge of West Bengal said.