Union Home Minister and top BJP leader Amit Shah Thursday set a target of 200 out of the total 294 seats in the 2021 West Bengal Assembly elections and to come to power in the state, party sources said. Shah, who visited Bankura during the day to take stock of the party organisation, asked BJP functionaries to take a vow to work hard to achieve the target, the sources said.
During a closed-door meeting with the party leaders he said the state party unit has to put up an intense fight against the ruling TMC to come to power in Bengal. "Earlier in the day Amit Shahji had said the party would come to power with a two-thirds majority. During the closed-door meet he told us that Bengal assembly election is of immense importance to BJP and we need to ensure that the party comes to power with 200 seats in the 2021 assembly polls," a state BJP leader said.
The BJP presently has eight MLAs in the state. It also has the support of eight TMC MLAs who switched to the saffron party after the 2019 general elections. Sources in the party said Shah asked the BJP workers to speak of the pro-people policies of the Centre and the misrule and anti-people policies of the Mamata Banerjee government in the state.
"He asked us to tell the people of West Bengal how they are being deprived of the central schemes meant for them as the TMC government has not allowed them to be implemented in West Bengal. We have been told to tell the people about the misrule of the TMC regime in the state," another BJP leader said. Shah had told newsmen earlier in the day that he could "sense massive public anger" against the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal and the "death knell of her regime has been sounded." Exuding confidence on forming the next government with two-third majority, Shah urged the people to give BJP a chance to form the next government in the state to fulfil their dream of "Sonar Bangla" (golden Bengal).
Shah, who had played a major role in expanding the party base during his tenure as BJP national president, had set a target of winning 22 seats out of the 42 Lok Sabha in the 2019 parliamentary polls. The party had bagged 18 seats, four less than ruling TMC, with a vote share of 40.5 per cent. Apart from holding an organisational meeting, he also met representatives of various communities and social groups at Bankura, which falls within the tribal Jangalmahal area.
It is one of the districts where BJP made deep inroads in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and bagged both the parliamentary seats there. Shah is on a two-day tour to the state to take stock of BJP's preparedness ahead of 2021 assembly polls.
Reacting to Shah setting the target of 200 seats in the assembly polls, TMC leader and MP Sougata Roy said "It is laughable that a party which does not have a face in Bengal to counter the popularity of Mamata Banerjee has set a target of 200 seats. It seems he is unaware of the ground realities and is daydreaming. The BJP will be defeated". The saffron party after having a limited presence in the politically polarised state for decades has emerged as the main rival of the TMC in the last few years.
With the BJP's strength increasing in the state in the last few years, where it has never been in power, its leaders are upbeat that the party will end the TMC's 10-year-long rule in the assembly polls scheduled in April-May 2021.