Kolkata: Expressing happiness over the growing BJP membership in West Bengal, party chief Amit Shah on Tuesday asserted that this “workforce” would defeat the Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress in the state.
Shah made the remarks while addressing party members at the Mahasampark Abhiyan in the twin city of Howrah here, said party national secretary S.N.Singh.
“He expressed happiness at the growing number of party members and asserted this workforce would defeat Banerjee and her Trinamool in Bengal,” Singh told media persons.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief said this was not “a demonic force” like the Trinamool but “a nationalist force that would contribute towards nation building”, Singh said.
Party activists and leaders from West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Sikkim and Andamans attended the meet.
Among the leaders present were Arjun Munda, Ram Lal and Babul Supriyo among others.
Shah also held meetings with leaders from the various eastern states to chalk out plans for the party’s growth in the region.
Shah stressed that only getting members was not enough and urged “party leaders and activists to reach out to individual members and instill the party ideology in their hearts”, Singh said.
India began on Monday the first of five state elections to be held in coming weeks, important tests for Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he plots a course that he hopes will ensure him victory in a general election due by May.
Voters in the central state of Chhattisgarh went to the polls on Monday to elect representatives for 18 of the state assembly’s 90 seats in a staggered poll complicated by logistical problems and left-wing guerrillas.
The state of about 26 million people has been ruled by Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) since 2003, and he will be hoping to hold on to power.
“Some unholy people have handed guns to children who should have pens in their hands,” Modi told a rally in the state on Friday, referring to the rag-tag guerrillas battling government forces from forest hideouts. “They’ve finished the lives of our tribal children.”
Hundreds of election workers had to be flown in to remote polling stations by helicopter because of the danger posed by the rebels.
Modi called for voters to back his BJP and its vision of “development for all.”
The final phase of voting in Chhattisgarh, which is known for its coal, iron ore and bauxite reserves, will be on Nov. 20.
The BJP was the preference of about 43 percent of voters in Chhattisgarh, 7 percentage points ahead of the main opposition Congress party, according to a survey released last week by the Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.
Modi’s other big tests will be in the neighboring central state of Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP is slightly ahead of Congress, according to polls, and in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, where Congress is expected to emerge victorious.
A good performance by the BJP in the elections would help it deflect growing criticism over unemployment and a crisis in the countryside over falling farm prices and wages.
Elections will also be held for assemblies in Telangana in the south and Mizoram in the northeast.
The BJP has sent top leaders to campaign in Chhattisgarh, including Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu priest and the BJP chief minister in Uttar Pradesh state.