BJP is bullish on Bengal, and not so much on Bihar. That was the takeaway from a conversation BJP president Amit Shah had with a small group of journalists on Sunday night in Patna.
Shah asserted that his party would sweep the polls in Bengal. However, his lack of equivalent enthusiasm about Bihar — where 40 seats are at stake — was conspicuous.
“We are going to win Bengal because the people there are supporting it. There is no Left left in the state. There is only Right. This has happened despite the government there using all means to stop us by hook or by crook,” the BJP chief told.
Asked whether such a result would be an outcome of the second consecutive increase in the vote share percentage of the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls in Bengal, Shah said that vote percentage and results varied a lot and he would not go into it.
The BJP chief arrived late on Sunday night in Patna. Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad — contesting from Patna Sahib — and Giriraj Singh (the BJP’s Begusarai candidate), Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, state ministers Nand Kishore Yadav and Prem Kumar were present during Shah’s tête-à-tête.
Though the BJP chief did not put a number to how many of Bengal’s 42 Lok Sabha seats his party would win, party national general secretary Bhupender Yadav did.
“We will win at least 25 seats in Bengal because the entire vote of the Communist parties have shifted towards the BJP,” said Yadav, who is the BJP’s man-in-charge of Bihar. “The people there have become frustrated with the communal politics of the state government. They are unhappy with the government run by a nexus of hoodlums and the police and the atrocities they are committing. They are peeved at the atmosphere of fear in the state.”
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul Congress had won 34 seats in Bengal with 39.05 per cent vote share in 2014, while the Left parties managed to win just two seats with a share of 29.71 per cent of the votes. The BJP also won two seats with a vote share of 17.02 per cent, while the Congress clinched four with a vote share of 9.58 per cent.
Though Yadav also asserted that the BJP would win 38 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, Shah was more circumspect. “I don’t know how many seats we are going to win in Bihar. I would prefer taking the opinion of the journalists based here,” the BJP chief told The Telegraph.
Speaking at five rallies in Bihar — covering the Sheohar, East Champaran, West Champaran, Siwan and Maharajganj Lok Sabha constituencies — on Monday, Shah stressed on the work done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government at the Centre. Shah highlighted 133 welfare schemes for the poor, the backward castes, the Dalits and women, as well as distribution of 7 crore gas connections to poor women across the country.
The BJP chief attacked the Congress and its allies and declared that they were planning to give a free hand to terrorists and Maoists if they came to power. He also asked people of Bihar to decide whether they wanted the reign of terror of the likes of Mohammad Shahabuddin in the state or the good governance of Modi and chief minister Nitish Kumar.