Kolkata, Dec 30: BJP, which has been making steady inroads in Bengal politics, claims to have inducted 10 lakh members within two months of launching a membership drive in the highly polarised state. According to the BJP leadership, the membership drive is receiving huge response from the Muslim-dominated districts of the state like South 24 Parganas and Malda.
"It is a rare feat that we have been able to achieve the 10 lakh mark in terms of membership just within two months. We got the report yesterday night that our membership across Bengal has crossed 10 lakh. Our party president Amit Shah has kept a target of 1 crore.
This figure will encourage us to achieve more," BJP state general secretary (organisation) Amalendu Chattopadhay told PTI. BJP's national secretary Siddharth Nath Singh, who is in-charge of the party in Bengal, said, "We feel that this figure will encourage us before the crucial municipal polls in 2015 and Assembly polls in 2016. The figure shows that people have already started taking BJP as an alternative."
According to Susanta Ranjan Paul, who is looking into the party's membership drive in the state, said the 10 lakh figure include old members who have renewed their membership. "After the last organisational program in 2012, we had around 1.24 lakh members across the state. In 2013-2014, the membership figure went up due to the Narendra Modi wave and rise of BJP in Bengal. But in this membership drive we are getting good response in Muslim-dominated areas and in urban areas.
In rural belt and tribal Junglemahal area too the response is more than we expected," he said. Kolkata, South 24 Parganas and Malda districts and some parts of North Bengal have the best response in term of membership drive, he said. Singh mocked the membership drive by ruling Trinamool Congress, saying "Those who lead or start are always leaders and those who follow are always followers."
After making its presence felt in the Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal by securing 18 per cent vote share and winning Darjeeling and Asansol seats, BJP won the Assembly bypoll in Basirhat South on its own. The party is trying to change political equations in the state, which till recently was polarised between Left and Trinamool Congress. The country-wide BJP national membership drive started on November 1 this year and on November 5 in the state.