‘Citizenship Bill Helped Us’: Himanta Sarma on BJP’s NE Sweep

The BJP-led NDA alliance had won 17 of the 25 seats in the North East. The party’s Himanta Biswa Sarma explains how.

Published24 May 2019, 11:41 AM IST
Elections
2 min read

Himanta Biswa Sarma, the BJP’s chief electoral strategist for the North East and eastern regions, says that the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) issue acted in favour of the party in Assam, Tripura and West Bengal.

“When our opponents made CAB a political issue, everyone who supported CAB came forward to support the BJP. If you go by the arithmetic, in Bengal and Assam, a majority of people supports CAB... so it helped us in those regions,” he said, while speaking to CNN-News18.

The party-led NDA alliance had won 17 of the 25 seats in the region.

On BJP’s resounding performance in Bengal, Sarma said that Mamata was elected on the plank of changing the Left’s political culture but ended up reinforcing it instead.

This, he argues, is the reason why people have now rejected the TMC and are shifting towards the BJP, a party that ‘offers a strong alternative political culture’.

‘50 TMC MLAs in Touch With Us’

Sarma also told CNN-News18 that 50 MLAs of the TMC are ‘in touch’ with the BJP, and that the possibility of their defection and the need for early Assembly elections will be taken by the BJP leadership in the next 20-30 days.

“Party will decide whether we encourage defection, or we continue our strong showing till the 2021 elections,” he added.

On the reasons behind the BJP’s strong performance throughout the, Sarma said, was that the party has ‘strong civilisational values’, which are constantly undermined by opponents and political commentators.

“They (Opposition) harp on secularism... they want to bring a different culture into the country. But PM Narendra Modi knows that nationalism and cultural ethos are very prominent in the country, something that can be seen from the response post Balakot,” he added.

‘New India Will Not Accept Dynastic Politics Anymore’

On the Congress party’s demise, and Rahul Gandhi’s loss in Amethi, he said: “The problem with Congress leaders is that they do not want to think beyond Gandhi. Today, in a time of social media, internet, can you continue to talk about Nehru, Indira and secure votes? Will people continue to vote based on the faces of three Gandhis? India cannot be synonymous with a dynasty.”

“New India will not accept this kind of dynastic rule,” he added.

(With inputs from CNN-News18)

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