The villages have been a bastion of Left events until a Trinamool Congress (TMC) wave modified the political panorama of West Bengal in 2011.
Now, the 40,203 villages in the state have emerged because the precedence for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the run-as much as the meeting polls due in one other six months.
Launched on Tuesday, a brand new three-part programme will likely be carried out by the BJP to achieve out to the state’s farmers by means of interactive periods, the place social gathering leaders will take heed to their issues and persuade them about the advantages of the brand new farm laws that have been lately handed by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) authorities on the Centre.
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TMC and Left leaders, who, too, are engaged on the bottom to counter the BJP, really feel that the saffron camp needs to make deeper inroads into the villages as a result of they maintain the important thing to get a majority in the 294-member Bengal legislative meeting.
In the 2018 panchayat polls, which have been marked by violence, the BJP may make dents solely in a number of rural pockets.
However, the equation had modified in final 12 months’s parliamentary elections after the BJP received 18 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats. Each of those seats is fabricated from seven meeting segments. According to the 2011 census, there are 40,203 villages in Bengal, the place 68.13 % of the state’s 9.13 crore individuals lived. Bengal has 909 cities.
The state’s present projected inhabitants is 10.09 crore.
“Till October 15, we will visit farmlands and discuss people’s problems and the new laws. On October 16, meetings will be held in the BJP’s 14,000 shakti kendras (organisational centres) each of which will cover one panchayat samiti area. In the last phase, seminars will be held from October 18 to 20,” Mahadeb Sarkar, president of the state unit of the Kisan Morcha, the BJP’s peasants’ entrance, advised HT.
“The strategy for the seminars will be decided by the state leadership in Kolkata on Wednesday,” he added.
On Tuesday, Sarkar met farmers in the Lalmath space in Nadia district’s Ranaghat North-West meeting constituency that the TMC had received in 2011 meeting and 2014 parliamentary elections with 54 % of the votes polled.
The tables have been turned final 12 months and the BJP received the Ranaghat Lok Sabha seat with 53 % of the votes polled, a 35% improve over its final election outcome. The saffron camp is sensing a possibility to go for an electoral kill in the meeting polls.
“After the Communist Party of India (Marxist) had come to power in 1977, it had promised land ownership to farmers with the slogan ‘langol jar, jomi tar’ (land belongs to those who own the plough). But the farmers suffered because the CPI (M) did not formulate any substantial agricultural policy. The TMC followed suit, although it had won the 2011 polls on the strength of its agitation against acquisition of farmland for industries,” mentioned Sarkar.
“In sharp contrast, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee took major steps for the benefit of farmers. PM Narendra Modi has taken it forward with the new farm laws and schemes such as Kisan credit card, Kisan Samman Nidhi etc. Farmers have suffered during the TMC regime because of middlemen. The Kisan Morcha is convincing farmers that Modi’s one-nation-one-market policy will transform their lives. The BJP will reap the benefits of our efforts,” mentioned Sarkar.
The evaluation of final 12 months’s parliamentary election outcomes confirmed that the largest contribution to the BJP’s efficiency got here from the vote financial institution of the CPI (M) and its companions. Out of 40 Left candidates in the race, 39 didn’t safe one-sixth of the votes forged in their respective seats. The direct beneficiary was the BJP.
CPI(M) normal secretary Sitaram Yechury had admitted the electoral development as properly.
This big shift in Left votes was seen in agricultural belts as properly, together with these the place the BJP couldn’t win.
For instance, on the TMC stronghold in Contai in East Midnapore district, two-time TMC Member of Parliament (MP) Sisir Adhikari received 50% of the votes polled, and the BJP’s Debasish Samanta and CPI(M)’s Paritosh Pattanayak had bagged 42% and 5.3% of the votes polled, respectively.
In the 2014 parliamentary elections, the CPI (M) had come second after it secured 34.72 % of the votes polled in the Contai parliamentary seat.
CPI(M) Politburo member Md Salim has been campaigning in the agrarian belts of South Dinajpur, Malda and different districts towards the farm laws and the TMC’s insurance policies since final week.
“We have seen a good turnout at our meetings. The BJP and the Kisan Morcha have the advantage of using the network of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Small groups of four–five people are visiting the homes of farmers. However, the poaching won’t help the BJP. The farm laws will become its Achilles heel,” Salim advised HT from a village in Malda.
“Land is a precious thing. Mamata Banerjee’s campaign against us at Singur (the site of the aborted small car project by the Tata Group) and Nandigram (the site of a proposed chemical hub) helped her win in 2011. But she did nothing for those farmers. No project came up at these places. Land that had helped her win will also lead to her loss. The Left-Congress alliance will be the main contender against the TMC in next year’s assembly polls,” mentioned Salim.
The TMC, too, is campaigning towards the BJP, particularly in the north Bengal districts, the place the BJP had received seven of the eight Lok Sabha seats final 12 months.
Former CPI(M) Rajya Sabha (RS) member Ritabrata Banerjee, who’s now part of the TMC’s state committee, is campaigning in north Bengal’s Alipurduar district.
“The new farm laws have created fear in the agrarian belts. It is no small thing that the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which was all along an ally of the BJP, left the NDA. In Bengal, farmers have staged agitation. We are telling them that these laws may lead to a food crisis,” mentioned Banerjee.
A proper marketing campaign won’t assist the BJP win votes in the agrarian belts, mentioned Kolkata-based political science professor Udayan Bandopadhyay.
“Telling people what is good and what is bad does not work in our villages. The BJP, or any party for that matter, has to listen to their grievances and understand their feelings. In both Singur and Nandigram, it was the local population that had started the agitation. They already knew the problem. Mamata Banerjee only took it forward,” mentioned Bandopadhyay.