Bengal BJP to target small NGOs, social organisations in run-up to LS polls

Pockets with sizeable tribal and Hindi-speaking population to be the focus areas for the drive.

Updated: Aug 09, 2018 11:36:22

By Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri

BJP president Amit Shah has set a target of winning 22 Lok Sabha seats out of the 42 in West Bengal in the elections next year. (PTI File Photo)

The Bengal unit of BJP is now targeting small NGOs and religious trusts involved in social welfare activities and operating in remote rural areas in the state to spread its organisational network in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections next year.

The party’s state unit are following national president Amit Shah’s instructions to prepare a list of such organisations and trusts that can be persuaded to campaign for the saffron camp among the people they are working with, according to BJP’s national secretary Rahul Sinha.

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“There are many small NGOs and trusts carrying out religious activities that are silently doing a lot of social welfare activities despite non-cooperation from the state government and even overcoming obstacles created by the ruling party workers. We respect their silent social work and want to ensure that they can operate freely and without fear,” Sinha said.

 A state BJP leader, who did not wish to be named, said that small NGOs and religious trusts faced discrimination and deprivation both during the Left Front regime and the current Trinamool Congress rule.

“The Left rulers did not interfere directly in their functioning, but they were deprived of financial aid  or infrastructure support from the administration. Things have become worse. Such organisations are not allowed to operate unless they fall in line with the whims of local Trinamool Congress leaders and syndicates run by them,” he said.

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Incidentally, while addressing a public rally in Midnapore on July 16, Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleged that the syndicates, directly patronised by the ruling party, control every aspect of public life in Bengal from dictating who would buy what building materials from whom to admission to colleges.

Sinha said while selecting social welfare and religious organisations, emphasis will be given on those working among tribal, Dalit and downtrodden sections of the society.

Pockets with sizeable Hindi-speaking  population such as Asansol, Ranigunj and Jamuria in West Burdwan district, Barrackpore in North 24 Parganas and certain pockets in Howrah district will also be under focus.

The districts of Bankura, Purulia, West Midnapore, Bibhum, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Pargans have a lot of Dalit and tribal people.

Read: ‘Try touching anyone,’ Mamata Banerjee warns BJP over citizen list demand in Bengal

Incidentally, BJP’s decision comes after the party’s drive for contact with Bengal’s intellectuals failed to evoke any response. Persons such as actor Soumitra Chatterjee, thespian Manoj Mitra, singer Amar Pal, former Naxalite Santosh Rana , whom state-level BJP leaders visited spoke to them but told the media that they met the visitors out of courtesy.

State food & supplies minister, Jyotipriyo Mullick remarked BJP has failed to evoke any response from the state’s intellectuals. “We are sure that their new plan with small NGOs and religious trusts will also fail,” the minister said.

First Published: Aug 09, 2018 11:36:22


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