The BJP is readying a list of promises along with a Narendra-Modi blitzkrieg to give a renewed thrust to its Bengal campaign.
Among the promises to be incorporated in the party’s election manifesto will be a 25-year roadmap to transform the state into “Sonar Bangla (golden Bengal),” a metaphor used to refer to a prosperous Bengal.
A BJP leader involved in the manifesto drafting said instead of short-term measures, the party would focus on long term plans to transform Bengal into a prosperous state by 2047, the year India will celebrate centenary of its Independence.
Free vaccination for all, implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission for state government employees and creation of around 10 million jobs are some other tall promises likely to be included in the manifesto, according to BJP sources.
Apart from common state-specific issues such as improvement of law and order and eradication of corruption, the manifesto will also have some region-specific promises for the hill districts, coastal areas and Jangalmahal among others, the sources added without divulging details.
They, however, hinted that there would be a slew of promises for the fishermen community, Adivasis, Matuas, women and other marginalised sections of society.
Home Minister and senior BJP leader Amit Shah on Thursday (February 18) promised 33 per cent job reservation for women and an annual payout of ₹6,000 each for the state’s about four lakh fishermen, virtually providing a sneak peek into the manifesto that is currently being drafted.
To prepare the promise-list, the 15-member manifesto drafting team is collecting feedback from the ground and holding group meetings with common people to “incorporate their aspiration.”
To take the promises to the people, the party will largely rely on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is slated to address at least 15 election meetings after the announcement of the poll date in the state.
Before that Modi will also visit the state on official tours on February 22 and 28. During the visit, he will also attend party programmes.
Shah is also expected to address more than 12 rallies after the announcement of the poll dates.
Even in the 2020 Bihar assembly elections, Modi addressed around a dozen meetings to turn the electoral tide in favour of his party.
The BJP in West Bengal is expecting a similar ‘Modi magic’ more so because the attendance in its rallies and programmes is depleting.
With much hype the party launched five rath yatras, one from each of its organisational zones, to cover all the 294 constituencies to create an atmosphere of change. The programme has been accordingly christened ‘Parivartan yatra’.
The lukewarm response the yatra is getting along the route and also at the flag-off event are causes of concern for the BJP.
BJP national president JP Nadda even had to cancel a scheduled event in Jhargram earlier this month due to low turnout.
BJP MP and state general secretary Jyotirmoy Singh Mahato, however, did not want to give much importance to the attendance issue.
“You cannot expect a big crowd in all events,” he said.