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Thursday, July 29, 2021

In Bengal, BJP has come a long way in a short time: Nadda in virtual address

BJP president JP Nadda told his party colleagues to prepare for a long battle, and added, “A long battle awaits us in Bengal. In the next five years, we will take another big leap and will form the government in the next Assembly election."

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
June 30, 2021 6:16:09 am
BJP state president Dilip Ghosh, Leader of opposition in WB assembly BJP MLA Suvendu Adhikari and Arvind Menon at the State Executive meeting at Hastings party office in Kolkata. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

Despite the party’s loss in the West Bengal Assembly elections, BJP president JP Nadda on Tuesday said the party had “covered a long distance in a short time” in the state and expressed confidence that the party would unseat the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the 2026 polls. Nadda made the remarks in a virtual address at the party’s first state BJP executive meeting since the elections.

“In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, we won just two seats and got 18 per cent votes. In the 2016 state Assembly polls, we won just three seats and received a 10.16 per cent vote share. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, we got a 40.25 per cent vote share and 18 of the 42 seats. In the recently concluded state Assembly elections, our vote share was 38.1 per cent and we got 2.27 crore votes. Our seats increased from three in 2016 to 77. In a short span of time, the BJP has covered a long distance in Bengal,” said the BJP chief.

He told his party colleagues to prepare for a long battle, and added, “A long battle awaits us in Bengal. In the next five years, we will take another big leap and will form the government in the next Assembly election.”

Hitting out at the ruling party over the violence that erupted after results were declared on May 2, Nadda said there had not been such violence in states such as Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry where Assembly polls were held.

“About 1,258 FIRs have been filed, total 1,399 properties of BJP workers have been destroyed, total 676 incidents of loot have taken place and 108 families of BJP workers have received threats from ruling party workers. BJP offices in Arambagh and Bishnupur have been burnt down. A lot of atrocities have been faced by women despite the fact that the state is ruled by a woman chief minister. If the women are not safe here then what sort of governance are the people receiving from the TMC?” Nadda asked.

He alleged that Aadhaar cards and ration cards of BJP workers had been snatched away while the police remained a “mute spectator”. According to Nadda, both Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the TMC have become synonymous with “corruption and anarchy”. The BJP president lashed out at Banerjee over a fake Covid-19 vaccination racket that was recently busted in Kolkata. “If you look at the data, the vaccination is lowest in West Bengal. If there can be corruption even on Covid-19 vaccines, then it can only happen in West Bengal. We have never heard about fake vaccination. Even TMC MP Mimi Chakraborty was given a fake vaccine in a fake vaccination camp. If you support the corrupt, then even ministers get fake vaccines,” Nadda added.

Earlier in the day, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh, in his opening address, claimed Kashmir was less violent compared to what Bengal saw after the polls. “Before the Assembly polls, about 171 people were killed. After election results were declared, 41 of our workers have been killed. In no other state, such violence took place. Even Kashmir which was burning for 40 years has not seen this kind of violence. There is no end to this violence.”

Meanwhile, former state minister and BJP leader Rajib Banerjee was conspicuous by his absence from the state executive meeting. When asked about it, Ghosh said, “Due to the Covid-19 situation, not every leader was asked to attend the meeting. Online links of the meeting were shared with many leaders. I don’t know whether he attended the meeting virtually. I have to find out as I don’t keep a tab on who is attending online.” Since the election results were declared, Rajib Banerjee has been maintaining a distance from the party, raising speculation about his possible return to the TMC. He visited TMC secretary-general Partha Chatterjee’s residence following the demise of the minister’s mother.

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