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India


As BJP pulls up sleeves to fight Trinamool, Congress leaders too target Mamata

As BJP pulls up sleeves to fight Trinamool, Congress leaders too target Mamata

By Nirendra Dev

New Delhi, Jun 13 (UNI) As the stage is set for a crucial all-party meeting convened by Governor

Keshari Nath Tripathi in Kolkata, the violent confrontation between Trinamool Congress and BJP

shows that the people of the state and politics itself has been 'polarised politically'.

One part of the electorate supports the Mamata Banerjee-led outfit and another the Lotus party, but according to Congress leaders most of it is the "doing" of Mamata Banerjee herself as over the last two years she "weakened both the Congress and the Left by poaching leaders and workers of the opposition parties".

The result is that now her party is 'facing difficulty' in terms of saving its own turf, especially after a large number of Trinamool workers and leaders in rural and block levels are "shifting" towards the saffron camp, they say.

Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said on Wednesday: "Didi khub chalaki korey Bangali aar Obangali bibhajan korar chesta korchhey (Mamata Banerjee is gradually and cleverly leading the state politics for a division between Bengalis and non Bengalis)".

His reference is to ongoing political one-upmanship between the Trinamool and the BJP.

Prior to him Somen Mitra, West Bengal Congress president, has said that the sheer "minority appeasement" of Mamata Banerjee has led to the rise of pro-Hindutva politics in the state helping BJP in the long run.

Such has been BJP's rise in the recent months and its 18 MPs' win in the parliamentary polls - that the party's 'well known weaknesses - poor organisational structure and absence of a state-level face' in the eastern state are no longer being discussed.

Emboldened by the massive victory - just four short of Trinamool's tally of 22, the saffron party leaders both in the state and at the central level are now asserting that they will be able to overthrow the Trinamool Congress government 'even before' the 2021 assembly polls.

The BJP leaders involved in party's functioning in West Bengal - known for Left-Marxism ideological base politics for decades - realise it well that things have changed.

"We will keep mounting pressure on Mamataji as she has shown being vulnerable to electoral setback. Our performance would not have been as good as it has turned out to be but for the shift of the traditional pro-Left voters who came to the BJP," said a senior party functionary.

Leaders such as Arvind Menon, Kailash Vijayvargiya and Shiv Prakash were involved in campaigning and effective planning to bring about such a drastic turnaround in Bengal politics.

"Hard work and silent but result oriented works involving Sangh outfits have yielded initial success. Now we have to push it further. It will be erroneous to underestimate Mamata Banerjee although as various post poll surveys have still claimed over 62 -64 per cent of people said they were "satisfied" with the performance of the Mamata Banerjee," cautioned one BJP leader.

However, others say such studies may have faults also as some research by local media organisations have shown that nearly 42 per cent of the respondents preferred Narendra Modi to continue as Prime Minister.

The BJP strategists also feel that the marginalisation of Left and Congress has only made the political contest in the state bipolar and hence - they say - "the intensity of political competition and search for relevance has sidelined ideological considerations".

The voters in Bengal may not need hardcore 'pro-Hindutva core issues' - like Cow protection or Ram temple and the simple fact that BJP can 'replace' Mamata Banerjee and provide protection to the voters, would simply help the saffron party's cause.

However, lot of works still ought to be done. The BJP leadership has already set up five political zones - Kolkata, Uttar Banga, Navadeep region, Hooghly-Midnapore and Murshidabad- Birbhum-Bankura region, sources said.

UNI DEVN RSA 1212

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