By Navneet Mishra
New Delhi, Dec 20 (IANS) With Assembly elections just a few months away in West Bengal, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is now focusing on 10,000 social and religious organisations in the state to breach Mamata Banerjee’s bastion.
The organisations are believed to have great influence among Hindu voters in Bengal.
The BJP has started PR campaigns across the state to woo these social and religious groups. It has formed committees to make a connect with these organisations in every district, working under the directions of BJP National Secretary Anupam Hazra.
Hazra, a former Trinamool Congress MP from Bolpur, joined the BJP before the Lok Sabha elections but lost from Jadavpur seat on a BJP ticket.
Party sources said that the visits of Union Home Minister Amit Shah to the birthplaces of intellectual leaders and BJP President J.P. Nadda’s visit to offer prayers at temples and paying tributes to social reformers is a part of the party’s strategy to connect with every section of society.
The Hindus in West Bengal are followers of different sects, with organisations like Ramakrishna Mission, Bharat Sevashram Sangh, Hindu Milan Samaj, and ISKCON having their own ideologies.
Shah visited the Ramakrishna Mission on Saturday during his two-day tour to West Bengal. He paid tribute to Swami Vivekananda, hailing him for magnifying India’s culture and ethos to the rest of the world.
A BJP leader told IANS: “The Ramakrishna Mission in West Bengal has about 50 lakh followers. Swami Vivekananda took India’s culture, vision and ethos to the world, but the Trinamool Congress government neither followed his path nor that of Ramakrishna Mission. Now, the BJP will carry forward the legacy of all the great men of West Bengal.”
While Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress’ election strategy in West Bengal is overseen by political strategist Prashant Kishore, the BJP is trying to counter her through many think tanks.
One such think tank is Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Research Foundation operating from Delhi’s Ashoka Road. Led by its Director Anirban Ganguly, it is playing an important role in deciding the BJP’s strategy in West Bengal.
Ganguly was present during Shah’s visit to the eastern state.
The BJP is also reworking its strategies as per Trinamool Congress’ moves. For example, when the BJP started raising slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ at party programmes in the past, Banerjee accused the party of “imposing cultural nationalism of north India on the people of Bengal”.
The BJP immediately changed tack and started emphasising on cultural nationalism of Bengal.
In view of a large number of followers of ‘Maa Kali’ in Bengal, all senior BJP leaders have visited the Dakshineswar temple during their visits to Bengal. So, now the BJP is focused on ‘Maa Kali’ instead of ‘Shri Ram’.
(Navneet Mishra can be contacted at email@example.com)
By Navneet Mishra