Capitalize on TMC’s misdeeds, Shah tells West Bengal BJP


Home Minister Amit Shah’s public address in Suri in Birbhum district during his two-day trip to West Bengal last week left observers surprised when he did not utter a single word on the upcoming Panchayat polls in the State. Instead, he publicly set a target of 35 seats in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections for the State BJP leadership. In internal meetings however, he told State leaders to become more aggressive in bringing to the fore the “misdeeds” of the ruling Trinamool Congress. He also told State BJP leaders to aggressively counter Trinamool Congress claims that the Centre was withholding funds.
Party insiders said that the Home Minister has specifically asked the State BJP leadership to start the process of strengthening the booth-level committees and reactivating the defunct ones before the panchayat polls scheduled this year. “Workers are our strength and emphasis must be given to maximise their output”, Shah was quoted as saying.
“Amit Shah has clearly said that if the process starts from the panchayat polls, the goal of having a full-fledged and strong booth-level network will be complete before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls,” said a State committee member of the BJP.
“Shah has also specifically said that the State BJP leadership should ensure that they get maximum mileage from the growing grievances of the people against the State Government and the ruling Trinamool Congress, besides ensuring that the Left Front-Congress alliance does not get the advantage of the anti-incumbency factor,” the State committee member said.
Referring to the recent by-poll in Sagardighi Assembly seat in which the BJP slipped to the third position while the Congress-Left nominee won, Shah asked the party›s State unit to ensure that the slide in its vote share was «checked without fail».
As per party sources, Shah also said that clean image, loyalty to the party and acceptability among the people should be the primary considerations in selecting candidates for the forthcoming panchayat polls.
Shah wanted state BJP leaders to increase ground-level activities and outperform other Opposition parties. Shah told the leaders to take up every single allegation of torture on BJP workers ahead of the Panchayat polls and build an organisation that could support the party’s aggressive stand. While appreciating Bengal BJP’s activities, the Union Home Minister held that it was yet to match public resentment on the corruption issue. BJP sources said Shah emphasised on better coordination among state leaders and reaching out to party ranks with a united face.
While admitting that Shah has outlined the strategy to be adopted for the forthcoming polls, BJP’s State chief and Lok Sabha member Sukanta Majumdar, however, refused to reveal the details of the discussions held with the Home Minister.
“These are closed-door affairs and cannot be revealed to the media,” Majumdar said.
Party sources said that Shah may visit Bengal again on a two-day tour in May. “Though the schedule of his visit is not yet finalised, he is likely to address a public meeting on May 8 and attend a cultural programme in Kolkata organised to mark the birth anniversary of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore the next day,” a source said.
With the Panchayat polls round the corner Shah has told West Bengal BJP leaders to aggressively counter claims by the Trinamool that the Centre’s “step-motherly attitude has resulted in the withholding of funds for Centrally- sponsored schemes.
Of late, the Trinamool Congress has been trying to spin this narrative from all possible fora.
While Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had undertaken a 31-hour dharna in Kolkata last month on the issue, her nephew and Trinamool MP Abhishek Banerjee had led a 25-member team of parliamentarians to meet Giriraj Singh, the Union Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister, in New Delhi, to press for payment.