Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | DH Exclusive: BJP's Sukanta Majumdar says Sandeshkhali changed women's views about TMC

Majumdar tells DH’s Anirban Bhaumik why the BJP is confident not only about raising its Lok Sabha seat tally from 18 in 2019 to 30 in 2024 but also about beating the TMC in the assembly polls in 2026.
nirban Bhaumik
Last Updated : 02 June 2024, 00:28 IST
Last Updated : 02 June 2024, 00:28 IST

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Sukanta Majumdar took over as the president of the West Bengal unit of the BJP in September 2021. The former ‘pracharak’ of the RSS succeeded Dilip Ghosh, who had led the party in raising its vote share in the state from 10.16 per cent in 2016 to 38.15 per cent in 2021. Majumdar has a PhD in botany and was elected to the Lok Sabha from Balurghat in north Bengal in 2019. He tells DH’s Anirban Bhaumik why the BJP is confident not only about raising its Lok Sabha seat tally from 18 in 2019 to 30 in 2024 but also about beating the TMC in the assembly polls in 2026.

What is your expectation in West Bengal?

We did very well in the constituencies, which went to the polls till the sixth phase. We will win at least half of the seats that went to the polls in the last phase. We are very confident about reaching our target of winning 30 of the 42 Lok Sabha constituencies in West Bengal.

What has changed since the 2021 assembly polls that have made the BJP so optimistic?

The BJP started growing in West Bengal after 2014. We went up from just two Lok Sabha seats in 2014 to 18 in 2019 and from just three assembly seats to 77 in 2021. These were no mean feats. A lot of Left Front supporters started supporting us. The TMC unleashed brutal attacks on our leaders and workers after 2021. But, with the untiring efforts of our leaders and workers, we strengthened our party. We had to admit leaders and workers of other parties to expand our organisation and some of them left us too in the past three years. But people who remained with us even after enduring the TMC’s atrocities since 2021 are our core strength, which was reflected in our rather spectacular campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections.

TMC’s poll campaign was mainly based on ‘Lakshmir Bhandar’ and other welfare schemes. How did you counter it?

Yes. With so much poverty and joblessness in West Bengal, the dole programmes do have an appeal and they do give political dividends too, but only to an extent. People of West Bengal are now realising that they were getting the benefits of the programmes introduced by the government, but the TMC is taking away their right to freely express their views against rampant corruption, which also failed to create a conducive atmosphere for setting up new industries and create job opportunities. The ‘Lakshmir Bhandar’ scheme may be giving Rs 1000 to a woman every month, but her husband may have to spend months after months in Karnataka or other states in search of livelihood. In many cases, TMC’s local leaders exploit women with the promise of ensuring the benefits of the schemes. When we come to power in West Bengal, we will launch the ‘Annapurnar Bhandar’ scheme and give Rs 3000 per month to every woman and at the same time we will also take steps to create jobs through rapid industrialisation.

BJP’s highlighted atrocities by TMC leaders against women in Sandeshkhali. Could the TMC blunt its impact to a certain extent by citing some videos and claiming that the allegations of sexual harassment were stage-managed?

I don’t think so. The videos the TMC is citing have the voices of the politicians and not the victims. What matters are the complaints of the victims. A large number of women lodged complaints with the CBI as well as submitted affidavits to the court. The people of the state are very much politically conscious. They can see through the TMC’s bid to cover up the misdeeds of its leaders. Whatever happened in Sandeshkhali had a huge political impact across West Bengal and altered the views of the women about the TMC and its government. Not only the women of Sandeshkhali but also the women of the entire state felt that they had been humiliated.

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Published 02 June 2024, 00:28 IST

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