KOLKATA: With a view to counter West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s aggressive protests against the amended Citizenship Act and National Population Register (NPR), Union Home Minister Amit Shah is likely to visit Bengal in March.
According to the BJP sources, the decision of sending a heavyweight national leader to Bengal was taken after the party’s debacle in Delhi elections. “Initially it was decided that national president JP Nadda will visit Bengal but the high-command decided to send Shah. It is because the chief minister has been opposing CAA tooth and nail and we need a leader like Shah or Modi to combat it,” said a senior BJP leader.
Since last year, the demand for NRC to weed out infiltrators and the new citizenship law has emerged as the latest flashpoint in the state with the Trinamool Congress opposing them tooth and nail and the BJP pressing for their implementation. Since the CAB was passed in the Rajya Sabha in December last year, the Bengal chief minister has been hitting roads to lead protest marches and addressing rallies urging people to oppose it and not produce any document before any government officials.
After BJP’s defeat in Delhi Assembly elections, poll managers of its Bengal unit are divided whether to push its aggressive strategies on the CAA-NRC or mellow it down and replace it with alternative plans of governance. While a section of leaders believes to keep up the tempo and aggressive strategy on CAA-NRC issue, another section prefers to highlight the governance issue along with the two factors.
“In Bengal, we took our tally from 2 to 18 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats and swept all the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi in 2019 general elections. But within a few months, the results are completely opposite in assembly polls in Delhi. We cannot take for granted that just because we won 18 seats in Bengal, we will also win the Bengal assembly elections in 2021. We need to change our strategy for state assembly elections. It should also lay similar stress and alternative and better governance,” said a BJP leader in Bengal.
Echoing the same, the saffron camp’s ideologue and Rajya Sabha MP, Swapan Dasgupta, “Not only CAA, we need to highlight better governance issues with equal priority.”