In West Bengal, BJP to target TMC instead of Maoists

An injured Central Reserve Police Force jawan being taken for further treatment after an encounter with CPI-Maoist groups at Saraikela-Chakradhar Pur border area of Chaibasa district of Jharkhand. PTI/FILE

Following the BJP's electoral debacle in Chattisgarh, the party leadership in West Bengal has decided to uphold tribal issues in the erstwhile Maoist-affected districts of West Medinipur and Jhargram in the next Lok Sabha elections.

Interestingly, the issues relating to tribals in these districts, which is known as the Jangalmahal area of Bengal were once mainly raised by Maoists.

BJP sources told DH that the party will mainly target the Trinamool Congress in its campaign and not the Maoists.

According to BJP sources, the party leadership is keen on capitalising on tribal issues and the discontent among them against the "misrule" of TMC.

They further revealed that in the Jangalmahal area, the discontent among tribals is more severe against TMC than against the Maoists.
"In the Chattisgarh Assembly polls, Congress capitalised by focusing on tribal issues instead of targeting the Maoists. In Jangalmahal, where we have done well in the last Panchayat elections, we don't want to waste our time by targeting Maoists, instead we will focus on tribal issue and target TMC," said a senior state BJP leader.

The state BJP leadership is also aiming to reach out to tribals in these districts at the grassroots level and uphold the failure of TMC in addressing their issues.
"We have done well in the panchayat elections in Jangalmahal. Why should we waste our time by attacking Maoists? The very existence of whom has become questionable in the area nowadays," said state BJP Dilip Ghosh.

BJP bagged more than 40% of the gram panchayat seats in Jhargram in the last panchayat elections.

The development comes at a time when the central leadership of the BJP is hammering on the term "urban naxals". However, in West Bengal, they have seemingly decided not to target the Left-wing extremists in districts where they were once active.

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