BJP’s ‘son of soil' CM promise a counter to TMC’s jibe?

Is BJP’s ‘son of the soil' CM promise a counter to TMC’s ‘outsider’ jibe in Bengal?

The BJP started to feel the heat of Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee’s 'outsider' jibe against it

Mamata Banerjee and Amit Shah file photos. Credit: PTI Photos

The BJP seems to be in a dilemma over whom to project as its chief ministerial candidate ahead of the Assembly elections in West Bengal next year. This has been evident from the contradictory statements made by Union Home Minister Amit Shah during his recent visits to Bengal, his comment on Sunday that the BJP would give Bengal a “son of the soil" chief minister being the case in point.

It is in stark contrast with what he said during his visit to Bengal on November 6. Shah said that the BJP’s Parliamentary Board and party president would take a call, adding that his party had won several Assembly elections without projecting anyone as a chief ministerial candidate.

The BJP has started to feel the heat of Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee’s “outsider” barb against it. The party's excessive dependence on its Central leaders and leaders from other states to steer the party through the next Assembly elections in the state has provided fresh ammunition to the TMC. Apart from dubbing Mamata as “conservative”, Shah has been unable to come up with any other counter. Hence, promising a “son of the soil" chief minister for Bengal was perhaps his only option left.

During the party's public outreach initiative called ‘Griha Sampark Abhiyan’ in Bengal, BJP leaders from other states have been painstakingly trying to convince the people of the state that they are not outsiders.

For instance, while interacting with villagers in West Medinipur district during the ‘Griha Sampark Abhiyan’, Union Tribal Affairs Minister and former Chief Minister of Jharkhand Arjun Munda repeatedly told them, “We are not outsiders. We came from the neighbouring state.”

The BJP leadership also seems to be worried that declaring the name of the party’s chief ministerial candidate ahead of the Assembly election may fuel the faction feud within Bengal BJP.  State BJP sources said that the old guard in the party was worried that it would be sidelined and leaders coming from the TMC would call the shots in  Bengal BJP.

However, speaking to DH, state BJP Vice President Jay Prakash Majumdar said, “ Amit Shah made a factual statement to prevent any false propaganda based on misinformation by the TMC. He said that Bengal BJP leaders were enough to fight against Mamata Banerjee which means automatically someone from Bengal will become chief minister.”

“Amit Shah’s ‘son of the soil' chief minister comment seems to be aimed towards containing the faction feud in Bengal BJP as announcing any name for chief ministerial candidate will aggravate the situation,” political analyst Udayan Bandyopadhyay told DH.