BJP new strategy fielding more Muslim candidates in Bengal for Lok Sabha election 2019
Updated:  Oct 31, 2018, 12:00 PM
The Bengal BJP is envisioning to field a "considerable" number of Muslim candidates in the Lok Sabha elections 2019 with an intent to divide the Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's solid support base among minorities.
The shift in BJP's political strategy appears to come from the positive result they got earlier this year in local bodies election by fielding Muslim candidates.
BJP had fielded more than 850 candidates, in the poll to the three-tier panchayats from the minority community and nearly half of them won the elections.
In 2014, BJP had fielded only two minority candidates in the state, which has a total of 42 seats.
However, from last polls to present, Bengal politics have taken a shift with the BJP emerging as the main challenger of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) by outsmarting the CPI(M) and the Congress.
The party will aim to field "considerable" number of Muslim candidates, given the fact that the state has nearly 30 per cent Muslim population, State BJP president Dilip Ghosh told Journalists.
"Although in our party, tickets are not distributed on the basis of religion, we are receiving several applications from people of the minority community, expressing their desire to contest elections on our party ticket," Mr Dilip Ghosh said.
Ghosh added that there is still time left for the decision of candidate and ticket distribution. The decision will be based on eligibility, winnability and capability of an individual.
Mr Ghosh views were conflicted with the views of party's Bengal Minority Morcha chief Ali Hossain. According to him, Muslims are a deciding factor in the Bengal elections and the party cannot afford to ignore them.
The ruling TMC disregarded BJP's minority outreach plan and asserted that they continue to have faith in party chief Mamata Banerjee.
Partha Chatterjee, a senior leader of TMC said, "The minorities have full faith in us. The BJP's strategy is nothing but a farce and the minorities are very well aware of their intentions."
Congress and CPI(M) said BJP's outreach to minorities nothing more than "shedding crocodile tears" ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
"We are running the government at the Centre and in more than 20 states, Muslims are living in peace and there are no problems. We believe in development for all," Ghosh said.
A Source claim that it is important to reach out to Muslim community in Bengal in order to achieve BJP president Amit Shah's target of 22 Lok Sabha seats from Bengal. It is a "necessity" for the party to reach out to the minorities as the community plays a deciding factor in at least 10-12 Lok Sabha seats of the state.
The last decision on the candidates' selection would be of the party said the BJP's Bengal minority wing chief Ali Hossain. Mr Hossain told a news agency, "We won't pressurise the party by saying that it has to field so many Muslim candidates. Everything will depend on various factors including whether he or she is able to win the seat or not."
A two-day conference to discuss various issues pertaining to the Muslim community was organized last week by the BJP minority morcha unit of West Bengal.
We welcome your comments at [email protected]