“Give Us 35 Seats And Mamata Banerjee Will Be Out”: Amit Shah In Bengal

Kolkata: While the BJP is yet to kick off its campaign in West Bengal, the party is already in action mode with Union Home Minister Amit Shah setting the tone ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election in the state.
Mr Shah has set a target for the BJP – 35 of the state’s 42 parliamentary seats. In 2019, the BJP won 18 seats.

At a rally in Suri in Birbhum district, Mr Shah targeted Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Trinamool Congress’s National General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee and Anubrata Mondal – the powerful TMC district president for Birbhum who has delivered for the party all these years.

With Mr Mondal in jail after being arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for his alleged connection with a cattle-smuggling probe, the BJP plans to exploit his absence from the ground politically.

“The Didi (Mamata Banerjee) and the Bhatija (Abhishek Banerjee) are engaging in misrule and the only alternative is BJP. We have stopped cow smuggling. Do you want infiltration in Bengal? The only way to stop it is to vote for BJP,” Mr Shah said, delivering a strong message on Mr Mondal’s home turf.

Mr Shah also outlined what the BJP’s target in Bengal is for the 2024 elections. He wants 35 of the state’s 42 parliamentary seats which he claimed would be enough to topple the Mamata Banerjee government in the state.

“Give us 35 seats in 2024 and the Mamata Banerjee government will be out. There is corruption in Bengal. And only the BJP can stop it,” Mr Shah said.

The TMC slammed Mr Shah for using central agencies to target the party after the 2021 election when the BJP could not form a government despite running a high-voltage campaign strategised by Mr Shah himself.

The TMC also called him a ‘seasonal bird’ who visits West Bengal during elections and advised him to go back to Delhi and do his job and not indulge in trash talk.

Women and Child Development Minister of West Bengal, Shashi Panja said, “He avoided answering the five questions the Trinamool Congress was asking. And just the way the Union Rural Development Minister avoided meeting the delegation of MPs from Trinamool Congress, Amit Shah too avoided those vital questions, which included MNREGA funds. What about funds for Bengal? He was talking about corruption yet he was sharing the stage with Suvendu Adhikari who was caught on camera taking money.”

While the Trinamool has decided to make the withholding of central funds to beneficiaries in West Bengal a key election issue and hopes to put the BJP on the mat for ‘depriving Bengal’, the BJP believes focussing issues like corruption, violence will help it dislodge the TMC from power.

Both the TMC and the BJP are focussing on the areas where they did not win seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. While Mr Shah campaigned in Birbhum, Trinamool’s Abhishek Banerjee campaigned in Bankura this week. With the TMC wanting to recapture the ground it lost to the BJP in 2019, the BJP looks forward to improving its 2019 tally of 18 seats in the state.