In the recent past, the Bharatiya Janata Party has made considerable inroads in West Bengal. It has increased its ground presence in the state in the recent past. Despite widespread violence in the state involving murders of BJP workers, the party has been challenging Mamata’s autocratic dispensation in the state. The panchayat poll results indicated that BJP is going to rise in the state. The BJP emerged as the second largest party in the Panchayat polls which suggested that the BJP is rising in the state and is poised to overtake the TMC in the state when it goes for elections.
The BJP has realised that it has an opportunity to make a mark in the state. In fact, the BJP has now set a target of winning at least 25 seats out of the 42 seats in the state during the Lok Sabha polls next year. This target was announced by West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh who also stated that the party has set a target of capturing power in the state in 2021 assembly polls.
Till now, it has been Mamata’s anti Hindu politics which have given the BJP an opportunity to expand its presence in the state which has been governed by the leftists for decades. Mamata’s irresponsible and anti national stance over the NRC issue and her sympathies for the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants had given the BJP a prolific opportunity to make inroads in the state.
However, the Bharatiya Janata Party has now found a new weakness within the TMC. It has sensed that there is a certain fissure amidst Mamata’s core voter base, the Muslims. The Muslims in West Bengal, on whom Mamata Banerjee and the TMC rely heavily, are believed to be somewhat disenchanted towards the current government. In a huge shock to the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, a large number of Muslim clerics from across the state had taken to the streets against the state government demanding an increase in their stipend from Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 10,000. This demand had been pressed by the All Bengal Minority Youth Federation, a body comprising Muslim clerics and scholars from all across the state of West Bengal. The rally that was led by Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, the general secretary of the All Bengal Minority Youth Federation had also demanded the Mamata Banerjee government to free several Waqf properties allegedly occupied by some private and government departments. Apart from this they had also insisted that teachers at Madrasas be hired through Madrasa Service Commission. They also demanded that there should be a Muslim Police commissioner in Kolkata and greater representation of the Muslims in police forces. All this goes on to show that all is not well as far as Mamata’s principal voter bloc is concerned.
The BJP is now trying to further intricate TMC’s already complex problems. The BJP has now started a door to door campaign aimed at interacting with Muslim voters in West Bengal. Ali Hossain, the president of BJP’s minority cell said, “Muslims in Bengal must realise that only the BJP can assure them development.” Muslim leaders from the party have been tasked to reach out to every Muslim household in the state. Hossain also said, “we will acquaint them with the inclusive nature of the policies of the central government.” If the BJP is able to send across its message of development to the minority community in the state, then the TMC will be in a spot of bother and the BJP will emerge as a major victor in such an event.