Battleground Bengal: BJP Decides To Intensify Campaign Even More To Make A Clean Electoral Sweep

Battleground Bengal: BJP Decides To Intensify Campaign Even More To Make A Clean Electoral SweepPrime Minister Narendra Modi in West Bengal (Twitter)
Snapshot
  • “We have done very well in the first two phases, and the momentum that these two phases have generated will make this a ‘wave election’. That’s why we will intensify our poll campaign,” said BJP spokesperson Sisir Bajoria.

An internal assessment of the first two rounds of polling in Bengal by the BJP leadership has revealed that the party has done very well and has gained a clear lead over the Trinamool.

The BJP has decided to build on this and pull out all stops to post a clean electoral sweep. The next four weeks till April-end will see the saffron party upping the ante and its top leadership intensifying their campaign in the state.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has already addressed six mega rallies since the first one at Kolkata’s Brigade Parade Ground on March 7, will come to Bengal more frequently.

The Prime Minister will be addressing two more rallies in this state on Saturday (3 April) and with that, he would have addressed eight rallies in a span of four weeks.

Top BJP sources said that Modi will intensify his engagement with Bengal and may address as many as 10 to 12 more rallies over the next four weeks till campaigning for the final phase of polls ends on 27 April.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has also been addressing many rallies and holding roadshows. Since the beginning of last month, Shah has held, on an average, four roadshows and rallies a week. That is also set to intensify.

The state BJP leadership is revising the schedules of all senior campaigners to include more rallies and roadshows.

Apart from Modi and Amit Shah, a host of top BJP leaders like including J.P. Nadda, Yogi Adityanath, Smriti Irani (her speeches in fluent Bangla evoke a good response), Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Shahnawaz Hussain, Raghubar Das, Arjun Munda and Jual Oram will visit Bengal more often for campaigning.

The BJP included Jyotiraditya Scindia in its list of star campaigners on Friday. Actor Mithun Chakraborty will also participate in more roadshows than planned earlier.

Suvendu Adhikari’s campaign schedule is also being revised and he will address more rallies in south and north Bengal.

“He has emerged as a hero after successfully and valiantly resisting and defeating the Trinamool’s efforts to rig the polls in his constituency. He has been an effective campaigner with a strong grassroot connect and possesses very good political acumen. We will use him to campaign more intensively and also put his organisation skills to optimum use,” said one of the BJP’s minders for Bengal who did not want to be named.

The celebrities in the saffron camp--actors Hiran Chatterjee, Yash Dasgupta, Payal Sarkar, Srabanti Chatterjee and a few others--will also increase the frequency of their campaigning.

“We have done very well in the first two phases, and the momentum that these two phases have generated will make this a ‘wave election’. That’s why we will intensify our poll campaign,” said BJP spokesperson Sisir Bajoria.

The BJP’s assessment based on surveys and extensive feedback from the ground level is that there is widespread and intense anti-incumbency against Mamata Banerjee and her party among the masses.

“The Trinamool’s attempts at largescale rigging of the polls in the first two phases has been effectively checkmated. That will give more and more people the confidence to vote against the Trinamool in the next six phases,” said BJP state chief Dilip Ghosh.

To instil this confidence (to vote against the Trinamool), the BJP has to project power. And one way of doing so is to bring out all weapons in its armoury and increase and intensify its firepower.

That’s why attacks on Mamata Banerjee and Trinamool will become sharper. “The charges of tolabazi, tanashahi and tushtikaran (extortion, terror and appeasement) have found wide resonance among the people of Bengal. We will make our campaign highlighting Mamata’s mis-governance, appeasement and the crimes by her functionaries sharper now,” said BJP Bengal minder Kailash Vijayvargiya.

“Thanks to the legacy of poll violence and intimidation of voters by the ruling party in Bengal, supporters of opposition parties fear venturing out to vote. Creating this fear has been an integral and crucial part of Trinamool's electoral strategy. But the BJP has been successful in defeating the Trinamool’s ‘vote management’ strategy in the two phases of polling held so far,” said Ghosh.

“In plain language, this means that more and more people will muster the courage to come out and vote against Trinamool in the subsequent phases of polling. The presence of so many central and state leaders who are crisscrossing the state and their trenchant campaign against Mamata Banerjee will only sharpen anti-incumbency,” said Ghosh.

The BJP has assessed, and correctly, that Trinamool’s catchy khela hobe campaign song and war-cry has completely lost its edge with Prime Minister Modi turning it on its head (read this).

Some senior BJP leaders are also advocating that the gloves should come off and a no-holds-barred attack on the Trinamool’s misdeeds over the last 10 years should be launched.

“The response of the people to sharp criticism of Mamata Banerjee and her party has been very good. That shows that there exists intense and widespread disgruntlement with the Trinamool chief and her party leaders. We have to intensify this anger against her and also project power so that people get over their fear of retaliation from the Trinamool and vote for us,” said a senior BJP leader.

The BJP is, thus, fine-tuning its strategy for the next six phases and will launch a carpet-bombing campaign that will involve using all the big guns as well as all the armoury at its command.

The aim, as Sisir Bajoria says, is to reach the goal of 200+ seats set by Amit Shah. BJP leaders now appear confident that this is an achievable objective.

Jaideep Mazumdar is an associate editor at Swarajya.

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