What stood in the way of BJP’s win in Bengal: Nadda explains
New Delhi, Jun 10: A year after the party's defeat in the high-octane West Bengal Assembly polls, BJP president J P Nadda on Thursday claimed that the party would have come to power had the devastating second wave of Covid not affected the campaigning.
Reaching out to the people of the state, Mr Nadda also said that the party will continue its fight to uphold the Bengali pride and expose those who try to demean it.
"With the speed we had picked up during the election campaign, it was quite evident that we would strike the right chord and come to power. But the second wave of Covid just after the fourth phase of polling forced us to call off our campaign," Mr Nadda said while addressing a citizens' meet.
West Bengal witnessed a marathon eight-phase Assembly election last year.
"After the fourth phase, the campaign had virtually come to a standstill and elections in the remaining phases took place without any campaigning. We are confident that next time we will come to power and conduct our victory rally at Brigade parade ground (in Kolkata)," Mr Nadda said.
The BJP president claimed that the scene he witnessed during his arrival at the airport here reflects that people, who are fed up with alleged lawlessness, are yearning for a change in the state.
"India is a living society and it reacts and replies at the right time. We will have to continue our fight democratically and defeat the TMC," he said.
Mr Nadda's comments came a year after the party, despite its high pitch poll campaign, failed to defeat the TMC and managed to win 77 seats in the 294-member Assembly. The Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, on the other hand, stormed to power for the third consecutive time bagging 213 seats.
Since the Assembly poll defeat, the state BJP unit has been plagued by infighting and exodus. Former union minister Babul Supriyo, party MP Arjun Singh and five legislators, including its national vice president Mukul Roy, switched over to the TMC since the assembly poll results declared in May last year.
"We must maintain and uphold the Bengali pride and continue fighting for it. It is a matter of pride and honour. We must expose those who try to demean and hurt the Bengali Pride. The Bengali pride is not hidden in works of literature; it is in our activities, sermons by Swami Vivekananda," he said.
During the assembly poll campaign, both the ruling TMC and the BJP tried to appropriate the legacy of nationalist icons such as Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and Swami Vivekananda.
The true fight for upholding the Bengali pride would be fighting for poor people's rights and freeing the state from the "syndicate" and "tolabaj" (extortionist) regime.
In West Bengal, 'syndicate' refers to a group of businessmen, apparently backed by the ruling party, who allegedly force promoters and contractors to buy construction materials, often of inferior quality, at high prices.
Referring to the saffron party's fight in bringing about a change in neighbouring Bihar's political spectrum, Mr Nadda said nobody had ever imagined that Lalu Prasad Yadav, the former CM, would go to jail, but "that became a reality as the law took its own course".
As Mr Nadda ended his speech, one of the guests requested him to speak to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and ensure punishment to those involved in the crimes being investigated by the CBI, to which he replied that it too would happen.
Reacting to this, the TMC in a Twitter post asked how Mr Nadda could talk about punishment in cases still under investigation and wondered if the two work together.
"@BJP4India = CBI, hence proved! @JPNadda talks about punishment in cases being investigated by the CBI at a political event. In what capacity is the National President of BJP saying this? Is CBI then working hand in glove with BJP? Is CBI a mere puppet of @narendramodiji?" the TMC tweeted.