BJP's bid to micromanage Bengal unit may benefit TMC

BJP central leadership’s bid to micromanage Bengal unit may benefit TMC

BJP's decision to send national and leaders from other states could help CM Mamata play the "outsider" card

Union Home Minister Amit Shah and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. Credit: PTI Photos

BJP’s recent decision to deploy a host of central leaders from outside West Bengal to steer the party ahead and during the Assembly elections next year makes it evident that its central leadership wants to take full control of the party’s operations in Bengal, leaving little for the state leaders to do. Modi-Shah duo's decision to micromanage the state unit may cost BJP dearly in the 2021 Assembly elections as it is creating an impression among voters that the central leadership do not have any faith in the state leaders.

The fact that the five vote managers along with at least 30 other central leaders BJP deployed in Bengal are all non-Bengalis and from other states has made it easier for Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to play the “outsider card”. This became evident as she recently said that the people of West Bengal did not have to fear “outsiders.”

BJP’s national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya tried to defend his party saying “what does she (Mamata) mean by outsiders? Are our leaders from China?”

But this failed to blunt TMC’s attack. Minister Bratya Basu said that BJP thinks that outsiders who did not know about Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore can dictate terms to the people of Bengal. He dubbed BJP as “anti-Bengali.”
 
Sources in the state BJP unit said that although the central leadership makes key decisions when it comes to elections but sending such large number of central leaders from other states might create an impression that they did not have any faith on state leaders.

BJP’s decision to contest the 2021 Assembly elections without projecting anyone as it’s Chief Ministerial candidate means that the party has to fall back upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take on the formidable TMC supremo. Modi at best would be viewed by the people of Bengal as a national leader and being the Prime Minister lending weight to BJP’s campaign. But it is unlikely he would be able to also fulfil the role of BJP’s face in the state.