BJP readies a painstaking Bengal poll campaign

Amit Shah, Nadda to visit State every month in run-up to the polls next year

The BJP is preparing a meticulous campaign for the West Bengal Assembly polls to be held early next year with the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) as one of the important issues in the campaign.

Senior sources in the party told The Hindu that five leaders – Sunil Deodhar, Dushyant Gautam, Vinod Sonkar, Harish Dwivedi and Vinod Tawde have been despatched to five different areas of the State to get feedback from the ground.

BJP’s West Bengal chief Dilip Ghosh said senior leader and Union Home Minister Amit Shah and party president JP Nadda would visit the State every month in the run-up to the polls next year. “Amit Shah ji and J P Nadda ji will visit the State separately every month till the Assembly elections are over”. Much of it would be to raise the morale of the organisation and workers, he added.

In fact, Mr. Shah’s visit in early November was a good primer on the kind of campaign the BJP is to run. On the one hand, Mr. Shah had lunch at the home of a person belonging to the Matua community and on the other, he left meticulous instructions to party workers on organising down to the booth level. The lunch is significant in that it signals that the BJP will be ratcheting up the rhetoric around the CAA.

Classified as Scheduled Castes, the Matua community are Namasudras and Hindu refugees who came to West Bengal from Bangladesh and are the second largest SC community in the State. Citizenship rights and issues is a sensitive matter to the community, with several party leaders, including the Bongaon MP and relative of the late Matua matriarch Boro Maa, Shantanu Thakur, demanding that the BJP make good on its promises with regard to framing rules for the CAA.

A list for workers

On the organisational front, from forming booth committees to keeping a list of voters who have smart phones in case of another COVID-19 compliant campaign , Mr. Shah has left a detailed 23 point to do list with workers.

The party is convinced that the Assembly polls will be between it and the ruling Trinamool Congress, despite the presence of the Left and the Congress. In 2019, the BJP won 18 seats in the Lok Sabha polls and emerged as the second largest party in the State.

The BJP clearly wants to give no advantage away.

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