BJP Needs To Sharpen Its Communication Strategy To Counter Trinamool’s Propaganda Against Centre
People at the ground level are well aware of the wealth amassed by Trinamool functionaries, widespread corruption and various anomalies.
BJP needs to adopt the same strategy that Banerjee has perfected — going to the grassroots and speaking to the masses.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has, over the past few days, resumed her attacks on the union government for allegedly denying Bengal its “dues”.
Banerjee has been alleging at public meetings that the union government has not released any funds for various centrally sponsored schemes like the Rural Employment Guarantee (), the (PMGSY), (PMAY) and the .
The Chief Minister has been alleging that non-release of funds by the union government has put lakhs of people in Bengal, especially in the rural areas, in distress.
“The Union government collects a lot of money from Bengal by way of taxes and GST, but is not giving us anything. Work on many schemes and projects have stopped because of this. You (Centre) either give us our share or stop collecting taxes from Bengal,” Banerjee said on Wednesday (16 November).
Senior Trinamool ministers and party leaders have also mounted a campaign against the union government and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleging discrimination against the state.
“The BJP is taking revenge on the people of Bengal for not electing the party to power last year. But it cannot deny the state its rightful dues. We will not tolerate this and will give an appropriate reply,” said Senior Minister and close Mamata aide Firhad Hakim.
But this narrative is entirely false.
“The union government is not releasing funds for various projects because the Bengal government has not submitted utilisation certificates for the funds it had already received. As per norms, if utilisation certificates are not submitted for one tranche of funds, the next tranche cannot be released,” Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari told Swarajya.
The reason that Bengal has not been able to submit utilisation certificates, Adhikari added, is because funds received from the union government for various projects have been syphoned off.
“There is widespread corruption in Bengal and a large portion of the money received from the centre has been pocketed by Trinamool functionaries and misused,” he said.
Adhikari’s allegations are true. Audits by the union government have revealed large scale anomalies in the implementation of many projects under MNREGA, PMAY and PMGSY.
“These audits have revealed that while projects were shown to have been executed and completed on paper, no corroborative evidence was found on the ground. Money was sanctioned to fake beneficiaries and there had been large-scale misuse and leakage of funds. That is why the Union Government has stopped sanctioning any more money till all the anomalies are set right,” said the senior BJP leader.
BJP national vice president Dilip Ghosh said that Mamata Banerjee is trying to hide the loot of funds by her party colleagues by falsely blaming the union government.
“She (Banerjee) knows very well why the Centre has stopped giving funds for various centrally-sponsored projects. Let her tell the truth to the people,” he said.
The union government had also objected to the Bengal government passing off many schemes either wholly or majorly funded by the centre as its own.
The Bengal government had even renamed a few such schemes in which a major share of the funds comes from the centre and made them appear as if the state government is sponsoring them.
“She (Banerjee) has passed off such schemes as her own. People are led to believe that these schemes are being wholly sponsored by the state government and Mamata Banerjee is trying to claim credit for them. The union government has asked her to restore the original names of these schemes and desist from passing them off as her own. Till she does that, the centre will not release any more funds for such schemes,” said Ghosh.
Mamata Banerjee had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi, in early August and had requested him to release funds to the state. She had also deputed her senior ministers to Delhi to take up the issue with different ministries.
But Mamata Banerjee, and her ministers, were clearly told why funds for various centrally-sponsored schemes and projects have been withheld. Banerjee has been asked to set right all anomalies before expecting more funds.
However, few in Bengal know about all this. The state’s masses are buying the false narrative about the BJP-led NDA government at the federal level deliberately denying Bengal its due and starving the state of funds for development projects and welfare schemes.
Even the Left Front government, which governed the state for 34 years since 1977, had often blamed Delhi for all self-inflicted ills afflicting Bengal. The bogey of ‘step-motherly treatment’ by the centre had often been used by the Left to hide its many failings and misgovernance.
Mamata Banerjee has taken many pages out of the Left’s sullied ‘red book’ and is resorting to the same falsehoods against the centre.
Bengal’s long-suffering masses, having been led to believe earlier that Delhi is responsible for their sorry state, are once again being fed the same bogey.
The BJP has failed to effectively counter this narrative. So far, just a few leaders of the party have countered this narrative, but only on social media. And that too in a perfunctory manner.
The BJP needs to launch an intensive statewide campaign to expose the falsehoods being spread by the Trinamool about disbursal of funds by the centre.
All functionaries of the party need to address meetings all over the state and educate the people about the reasons behind the non-disbursal of funds for development projects and social welfare schemes by the union government.
The Trinamool’s false narrative needs to be countered with concrete facts and figures. It will not be difficult for the BJP to bust the myth about the union government denying funds to Bengal.
It will be quite easy, in fact, for the BJP to convince the people of Bengal about the actual reasons behind all this. That’s because the people of the state, especially those in the rural areas, have first-hand knowledge and have been adversely affected by the loot of public funds by Trinamool functionaries.
People at the ground level are well aware of the wealth amassed by Trinamool functionaries, widespread corruption and various anomalies that have marred projects and schemes.
They know how a lot of money has been fraudulently syphoned off by Trinamool functionaries.
Hence, they will not need much convincing. But BJP leaders and functionaries will have to go to the grassroots level and tell people that the union government has stopped disbursal of funds because of glaring anomalies in implementation of centrally-sponsored projects.
So far, a handful of BJP leaders have limited themselves to countering the Trinamool’s false narrative only on social media through tweets and Facebook posts, and by giving sparse sound bytes to the media.
That simply won’t do. Mamata Banerjee can be exposed by the BJP only if the latter adopts the same strategy that Banerjee has perfected — going to the grassroots and speaking to the masses.
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.