In Bengal, the opposition BJP and the Left-Congress combine met separately today to thrash out strategy for the Bengal Assembly elections, which is barely six months away. For the ruling Trinamool Congress, the job is being done by election strategist Prashant Kishor. Some party MLAs are grumbling about him, their voices louder after Mr Kishor’s bid last week to meet disgruntled Trinamool leader Suvendu Adhikari failed.
Last reports suggest the Trinamool has finally started reaching out to Suvendu Adhikari. An unnamed MP of the party is believed to have had a top secret meeting with the Trinamool minister on Monday. There are reports that suggest a high-level meeting may be held again today.
Through the day, it was BJP firepower was on display. Top leaders who came from Delhi, demarcated Bengal into five zones, putting a central leader of the party in charge of each.
Sunil Deodhar, the party strategist who snatched Tripura from the Left, said, “I am confident that we will win in Bengal by a two-third majority”. He is in charge of the Medinipur Zone.
The ‘Rarhbanga Zone has been assigned to Binod Sonkar, Uttar Banga to Harish Dwivedi, Kolkata to Dushyant Gautam and Nabadwip to Binod Tawade.
The zones in-charges will meet over November 18, 19 and 20, examine the party’s position and send a report to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who is the party’s chief strategist.
Depending on their reports, Mr Shah may come to Kolkata again on November 30. If he does, he will be visiting twice in less than a month.
Last time he was in Kolkata, Mr Shah had set a target of 200 out of 294 seats in Bengal for the BJP.
Mr Amit Malviya, IT Cell head who is now co-observer for Bengal, repeated that target. “Bengal has made up its mind to vote Mamata Banerjee out and give the BJP 200 seats.”
Asked about Mr Malviya rushing to Bengal, state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said, “At least we don’t use hired people to boost the party. Our people are party workers who are coming to Bengal for the elections.”
The Trinamool knows it is the focus of all the BJP’s poll strategizing but leaders appear unperturbed. Trinamool MP Sougata Roy said, “Amit Shah’s target is a day dream and will never be fulfilled. His party simply parrots what he says. No need to take that seriously”.
Nor is Mr Roy worried about the rumblings against Prashant Kishor from a growing number of MLAs and other party leaders.
“Do we have to learn politics from PK? Who is PK? If Trinamool suffers in Bengal, it will all be PK’s fault,” Niamat Sheikh, Trinamool MLA from Murshidabad district, had said at a public meeting on Sunday.
Cooch Behar MLA Mihir Goswami had also expressed his disgust and quit all organizational posts in the party six weeks ago.
Mr Goswami posted several questions on social media today, including, “Is Trinamool still Mamata Banerjee’s party?”
“The party it seems is being handed to a contractor. A corporate outfit like IPAC… will give orders or party organizational matters and a veteran politician like me will have to obey, that is painful,” he added.
Today, yet another MLA from Sitai in Cooch Behar district raised similar questions about IPAC.