A year after the mega launch of the ‘Didi Ke Bolo’ (Talk to Didi) campaign by chief minister Mamata Banerjee on July 29 last year, Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee has launched the ‘Banglar Jubo Shakti’ (Bengal’s Youth Power) initiative to create one lakh ‘Jubo Joddhas’ (Youth Warriors) in the state.
The brainchild of political strategist Prashant Kishor, the move by the ruling party in West Bengal, after the success of ‘Didi Ke Bolo’, is likely to further energise the TMC rank and file. Kishor was roped in for his political acumen by Mamata on June 6, 2019, after the Bharatiya Janata Party made deep inroads into the state during the Lok Sabha polls.
Trinamool Youth Congress (TMYC) has already completed the registration process till June 11, 2020 to create a separate wing called ‘Jubo Joddhas'. Three committees for state, district and field have been created comprising around 2,800 TMYC members for effective implementation of this initiative.
“The registration of youths from across the state has already completed on June 11 and those who are 18-35 years of age can become a Jubo Joddha. This is going to be significant for us to take on the misinformation being spread by the BJP in Bengal,” a TMC leader said.
Post registration, all the people will be redirected to a WhatsApp group of their respective assembly constituency so that they can stay closely connected with the other Jubo Joddhas active in the area.
Soon, a mega virtual interactive session will be organised to meet and interact with the one lakh Jubo Joddhas, and to inform them about the activities that they need to undertake in making the party strong at the block level by helping the people in need.
Speaking to News18, BJP state vice-president Joy Prakash Majumdar said, “It is unfortunate that the TMC is now fully dependent on an outsider called Prashant Kishor to prepare their political road map ahead of the next assembly polls in the state. This shows that the ruling party is losing its popularity among the masses. Over the years they lost their ‘connect’ with the people while looting public money. I believe that such initiatives like ‘Didi Ke Bolo’, ‘Banglar Gorbo Mamata’ and now ‘Jubo Joddhas’ are not going to help them in forming the next government in Bengal. Like ‘Didi Ke Bolo’ and ‘Banglar Gorbo Mamata’ (Bengal's Pride Mamata), ‘Jubo Joddhas’ is also going to be a flop show. It is evident that the TMC is now scared of the BJP’s immense popularity in Bengal and this is the reason they are preventing us from standing beside the people in this time of Covid-19 and Cyclone Amphan crisis. We are confident to form the next government in Bengal as people are fed up with the ‘negative’ TMC.”
Didi Ke Bolo was launched by Mamata Banerjee on July 29, 2019. It is a unique initiative to provide a platform to all to connect directly with the chief minister with their grievances and suggestions. Anyone can reach out to her by calling 9137091370 or by logging onto www.didikebolo.com.
The objective of this initiative is to improve citizen participation and engagement for expedited action. It will reach out to nearly 80 per cent of the households in West Bengal to inform and engage them with the initiative over the next several months.
Under this campaign, party workers will have to meet local cadres and influential persons of a village. They have to conduct three-four hours of 'Jan Sanjog Sabha’ (Public Interaction Meets) at every pre-identified village, and dinner with local party workers and booth-level members is a must.
Also, party workers have to spend a night at the house of one of the party members and supporters, conduct door-to-door visits and hoist the party flag at a pre-identified venue of significance.
In the 2016 assembly election, the BJP’s vote share was 10.2 per cent and in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls it went up to 40.3 per cent. There was an increase of 30.1 per cent vote share mainly because of Hindus coalescing towards the BJP. In the last three years, the saffron party has managed to cultivate religion-driven politics in Bengal.
A close analysis shows that from the 2011 assembly polls to the 2016 ones, the Left Front lost its vote share by 9.88 per cent and from the 2014 Lok Sabha election to the 2019 edition its vote share further plummeted to about 16 per cent.
However, the Congress vote share from the 2011 to the 2016 assembly polls increased from 8.91 per cent to 12.3 per cent, but it fell drastically in the 2014 Lok Sabha election (9.6 per cent) while in the 2019 polls the party managed to secure only 5 per cent.
Considering the increase in the BJP’s vote share, TMC leaders feel that Jubo Joddhas will add more strength to the ruling party at the ground level.
On the other side, analysts say the state BJP needs to come out with a strategy to deal with issues like the resentment over the change in citizenship rules and the migrant workers crisis, which may go against the party in the coming state polls.