Less Modi, ‘Softer’ Hindutva Is BJP’s Agenda in West Bengal

Taking lessons from Bihar, the BJP plans to refrain from the overexposure of Modi in the West Bengal polls. 

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a rally. (Photo: IANS)

After facing a rout in Bihar, the Bharatiya Janata Party seems to be making a shift in their election campaign. An Indian Express report states that the BJP has indicated that there will be fewer rallies by PM Modi and party chief Amit Shah, and that they will refrain from a ‘negative’ campaign.

The shift in strategy appears to be a lesson drawn from the mistakes in Bihar.

The election will be fought on what the party is offering the state and what the Modi-led government has achieved so far, the BJP added.

We will focus on what the BJP can do where the present and past governments have failed. For example, for the crisis-hit agrarian sector, the party will project the new crop insurance scheme, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, as a solution. Another issue, that of hawkers, can be resolved through micro-financing, which is being offered under the Mudra banking scheme.
Sidharth Nath Singh, BJP National Secretary, In-charge West Bengal

The state unit has demanded rallies from Union Ministers Sushma Swaraj and Smriti Irani as they can speak Bengali. Since Modi and Shah have a language barrier issue, they will address only 7-10 rallies.

The state unit also wants Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to make budget announcements with ‘immediate impact’ on middle-class voters.

The campaign will still have some elements of earlier ones by the BJP. The BJP will be vocal about the Trinamool Congress government’s “appeasement policies” for Muslims. The prime minister will visit Gaudiya Math for its centenary celebrations in Kolkata on February 21 and the party hopes this will send the “right” signals to the Hindus in the state.

According to a DNA report, the BJP sees more traction for the party in rural areas where the law and order problem is acute, sources said. Taking on Banerjee, the party is focusing on law and order, opium farming, fake currency, women’s security, unemployment and minority appeasement with slogans like “parivartan ya patan? (change or decline?)” and “ma, mati, manus theeno surakshit nahi (mother, soil, people – all three are unsafe”).

The BJP general secretary in charge of the state, Kailash Vijayvargiya, met with Sidharth Nath Singh on Tuesday to discuss the campaign.

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