Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, PM Modi addressed a rally in Thakur Nagar, West Bengal. In his visit, the PM dedicated Railway electrification of 294 kilometers long Andal- Sainthia-Pakur-Malda and Khana- Sainthia Sections to the nation. He also inaugurated a 20-km-long Hijli-Narayangarh line. With his visit, PM Modi has also officially launched the BJP’s poll campaign in West Bengal, a state where the saffron party is targeting to win at least 22-23 seats out of the total 42.
A day before the visit, a massive poster war ensued between the BJP and the TMC. The BJP leaders alleged that hoardings and banners put up in the city’s Ward 15 were pulled down by the TMC supporters. The BJP’s Bengal general secretary, Sayantan Basu said, “(Welcome) gates were vandalised and banners pulled down by Trinamool supporters. But we were prepared for such eventualities.”
Another leader from the BJP said that one of their workers was even attacked.
Rahul Sinha, BJP: Just 50-70 metres away from the meeting venue of PM Modi in Durgapur, WB CM Mamata Banerjee's posters are being put above PM's banners. This is proof there is no democracy in West Bengal. When one of our workers protested against such activities he was attacked. pic.twitter.com/d21M4o3o4a
— ANI (@ANI) February 1, 2019
All these are nothing but acts of desperation on the part of TMC workers. The TMC is scared of BJP’s rise in the state and is adopting violent means to stop the saffron party from gaining more political and electoral ground. However, the BJP is leaving no stone unturned to spread its clout in the state. A C-voter tracker showed the BJP vote share in West Bengal at 31.5%. In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP’s vote share in West Bengal stood at 16.8%, and the analysis by the C-Voter clearly shows a double hike in the vote share.
C-Voter tracker shows BJP voteshare in West Bengal at 31.5% My reading: @MukulR_Official has changed the dynamics making BJP more aggressive; cadre shift (Left and TMC to BJP) happening; much could change between now and #2019LSPoll @YRDeshmukh @republic https://t.co/n4ecwvsSdO
— Kanchan Gupta (@KanchanGupta) November 2, 2018
The party is employing its best soldiers to challenge the Mamata in West Bengal. Last month, the BJP President Amit Shah addressed a rally in Malda where he promised to end syndicate raj in West Bengal and this month PM Modi took the matters in his hand.
For more details: India Today report reveals the extent of ‘Syndicate Raj’ in TMC-ruled West Bengal
He also targeted the ruling government over the syndicate raj. PM Modi raising the issue of syndicate raj said, “I must let you all know that the BJP will never let you suffer. We know how you all are harassed by the ‘Syndicate’. How systematic extortion happens here in Bengal. All that will end now. The Central government has started direct benefit transfers. You will no longer have to worry about the middlemen and ‘Syndicates’ troubling you and taking your money. You will receive it directly in your bank accounts. 100% of it.”
He thanked gathering for showing so much love and supporting BJP and also said, “I now understand why Mamata Banerjee is so scared to have us here. It is your love for us that scares her.”
According to media reports, PM also met Binapani Devi, the nonagenarian Matua matriarch, before his rally in Bengal’s Thakurnagar. In the 2011 state assembly elections, Matua community played a key role in Mamata’s sweeping victory over the left alliance. They are a big political force. Thakurnagar town, adjacent to Bangladesh, is considered as the main center of Matuas.
Local news channels are reporting that PM has met Binapani Devi, the nonagenarian Matua matriarch, before his rally in Bengal's Thakurnagar. #Bengal
— Sreemoy Talukdar (@sreemoytalukdar) February 2, 2019
According to The Hindu report, it is said that this sect has over 30 million followers in South Bengal. With 75 percent of seats, traditionally this region decides the winner in the state. The Hindu quoted Ms. Devi’s daughter-in-law, Mamatabala Thakur saying, “Matuas reside in at least 78 Assembly segments in six districts of West Bengal. Boro Ma and the Matua Mahasangha [a socio-religious body of the Namasudra caste] have reasonable control over them.”
The visit by the prime minister is likely to instill a sense of confidence among the BJP workers. The way, the Mamata led government in the state denied permission to BJP Chief Amit Shah’s chopper to land and the vandalism carried out by the TMC workers prior to PM Modi’ rally, are suggestive of the fact that TMC is apprehensive of the large support base of the BJP.