Will win at least 200 seats: West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will bag 200 out of 284 seats in the West Bengal assembly elections due in 2021, the party's state unit chief and lawmaker Dilip Ghosh claimed on August 12.
The saffron party, which had won just three assembly seats in 2016, secured 18 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats in the April-May general elections, just four less than what the ruling Trinamool Congress won.
An assembly segment-wise analysis of the 2019 Lok Sabha election results showed that the BJP was leading in 128 assembly segments.
Ghosh's remarks came a day after the party's two-day "Chintan Baithak", or strategic meeting, concluded in Durgapur in West Burdwan district, in which the party's plan for the assembly elections was discussed.
Apart from the newly elected MPs and the state committee office bearers, national-level leaders, Kailash Vijayvargiya, Shiv Prakash and Arvind Menon were also present. Mukul Roy, considered one of the architects of BJP's massive electoral gains in West Bengal, was present as well.
The party decided that it would continue to focus on three issues that are believed to have helped them achieve success in the Lok Sabha elections - the Mamata Banerjee government's appeasement of minorities, corruption and poor governance, party leaders said.
"In 2017, we made plans for the 2019 elections and you can see the result. Now, we have derived a plan for the 2021 elections and I can tell you the result in advance. We will bag at least 200 seats," Ghosh said.
BJP's Lok Sabha election performance marked the meteoric rise of the party in the state where it had traditionally been a fringe entity.
A member of BJP's state executive said on the condition of anonymity that they had set a target of 23 of Bengal's 42 Lok Sabha seats - which many political analysts considered unrealistic at that time - and ended up bagging 18 seats. "This time, our target is winning 200 seats. Prospective seats have been identified and we will work with special focus on those seats," the BJP functionary said.
Meanwhile, the TMC mocked at BJP's 2021 target. State food minister Jyoti Priya Mallick said, "Dreaming does not cost one anything. They are free to dream. But the Lok Sabha elections and the assembly polls are very different ballgames."
Political analyst Amal Mukhopadhyay, a former professor of political science at Presidency College, Kolkata, said it was too early to comment on the electoral prospect of any party. "If the Left and the Congress ultimately fight together, as both the parties are trying, it would be difficult to predict whether they would eat into TMC's vote bank or the BJP's," Mukhopadhyay said.
In the 2016 assembly polls, TMC won 211 seats while BJP won just three seats. In 2011, the saffron party did not win a single seat.