Why is JP Nadda's Bengal visit important for BJP's eastern expansion?

Niraj Sharma
20 Jan 2023
Why is JP Nadda's Bengal visit important for BJP's eastern expansion?

BJP National President JP Nadda with party leaders Suvendu Adhikari, Sukanta Majumdar, Dilip Ghosh and others during a public meeting at Bethuadahari, in Nadia district

New Delhi: Day after being reconfirmed as Bharatiya Janata Party chief for a tenure till 2024 Lok Sabha polls, JP Nadda has clearly indicated that winning West Bengal will be a priority for the saffron unit. The BJP chief chose the border state as his first destination for a visit and rally and revealed the importance that the party bestows on winning on the nation's eastern frontier.

Nadda's West Bengal visit puts in perspective the importance that the saffron party has accorded to winning the maximum possible seats from the border state in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

BJP leadership’s focus on winning West Bengal can also be gauged from the fact that a similar trip was undertaken by Union Home Minister Amit shah to West Bengal last month, where he met the top brass of the BJP leadership in the state.

The BJP chief on Thursday held a rally in Nadia in West Bengal and also held detailed discussions on strategy and the party's preparations for forthcoming polls with party leaders.

The visit is also an attempt by the top leadership to enthuse the local BJP cadre, which has complained about being abandoned after targeted violent attacks by the Trinamool cadre. The BJP wants to end the perception that its workers have been left to fend for themselves, sources said.

The visit also assumes significance as the saffron party has set a target of 25 seats for West Bengal in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls the BJP was able to win 18 seats in the border state. However, the party feels that its Lok Sabha count in West Bengal could improve in the next general election.

West Bengal is also gearing up for panchayat polls. These polls are expected to be used as a semifinal by the West Bengal unit for preparation for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, sources said.

A few days ago, West Bengal BJP leadership, including its MPs, attended a meeting chaired by Nadda in the national capital where strategy and the party’s outlook for the future were discussed.

The BJP is desperately trying to expand its base in Eastern India ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls. With non-BJP parties now in government in electorally significant Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha, the party is targeting West Bengal for major gains in the next general elections.

These states send a total of 117 MPs to Lok Sabha with West Bengal (42) being the most important state, followed by Bihar (40), Odisha (21) and Jharkhand (14).

Trying to secure more Lok Sabha seats from West Bengal is the top priority of the BJP leadership. The party feels that they have the best chance of securing seats in the lower house of Parliament in West Bengal as the contest will be a direct one between the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and TMC strong woman and chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

The BJP hopes to grow in the east and the party is banking on the region to secure more seats in the 2024 general elections. With the party hitting the saturation mark in North, West and Northeast India, this region, along with the South, are its main hope for compensating for anti-incumbency in other parts of the country.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to seek a third term in 2024, the BJP doesn’t want to leave anything to chance and hopes to improve its seat share from the state.

The top leadership of the party, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, party chief JP Nadda and National general secretary organization BL Santhosh, have repeatedly been on the tour of the state and are keeping a sharper eye on the political developments in the region. Over the next few months, they are expected to hold meetings with state leaders more frequently to keep planning and strategy in top shape.

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