Kolkata: The catastrophic defeat of the BJP in the Bihar Assembly poll might have resulted in the cancellation of party president Amit Shah’s much-touted rally,but the party’s state leadership asserted that the drubbing would only have a ‘temporary’ impact.
The leadership is confident that it will not be long before the party workers will have their morale restored. “It is obvious that the Bihar poll verdict will have a temporary impact in Bengal. If we had won, it would have a temporary impact too. Politics in Bihar and Bengal are different cups of tea. In Bihar it is caste-based politics, but in Bengal it is development politics versus TMC’s reign of terror,” BJP state president Rahul Sinha told PTI.
Shah’s rally, scheduled to be held in Kolkata on November 30, was officially called off on Thursday and in its stead the party would organize a protest-march on that day to be attended by Siddarth Nath Singh and Kailash Vijayverge. BJP national secretary Singh too agreed that win or loss in a neighboring state might have a temporary impact. “We have been winning Bihar since 2005, but did that have an impact in Bengal? So how will it now make a difference?” Singh told PTI.
However, Rahul Sinha had sung a different tune on October 28 when he claimed that the BJP would concentrate on West Bengal after the Bihar election. The BJP leadership had even claimed that after the party emerged victorious in Bihar Assembly elections, it would sound the death knell for the ruling Trinamool Congress in Bengal. A senior state BJP leader, considered to be close to RSS, told PTI on the condition of anonymity that the party in Bengal was in a “complete disarray”.
“There are several factors at play right now. The central leadership right now don’t want to jump the gun in Bengal,” the leader said. The BJP leader also felt that there was a growing dissent in the rank and file over outsiders, who had joined the party in Bengal after 2014, being given important positions at the expense of old-timers. The leader conceded that if the Bihar results went in favour of the BJP, it would be easier for the state leadership to prepare for the 2016 Assembly poll.
The BJP, which was once considered a backbencher in state politics, had signaled its arrival in a big way by securing 18 per cent of votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha poll, which was dubbed as a “good show” by political pundits. Just a year after, however, the narrative changed as the party was beset with lack of leadership, bitter infighting and alleged understanding with the Trinamool Congress, all of which took a toll on the morale of ordinary workers.
The CPI-M feels that the Bihar defeat will bring the BJP closer to the TMC on a quid-pro basis. “The BJP after losing Bihar needs to find an ally in national politics, especially in the Rajya Sabha to pass bills. And the TMC needs the BJP to help it evade the CBI in the Saradha Scam,” CPI-M politburo member Mohammed Salim said.
TMC MP Sultan Ahmed said the BJP would never be able to make its presence felt in Bengal. “The BJP had high hopes of winning Bengal after Bihar. But the crushing defeat in Bihar will put a leash on their hopes. Bengal is a pilgrimage of secularism and a communal force like the BJP will never find a footing here,” he said.