2021 Bengal polls: BJP to induct TMC turncoats with clean image to take on Mamata

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KOLKATA: Using allegation of corruption against TMC to combat TMC in 2021 Assembly polls, BJP national leadership has decided to adopt twin strategies to induct turncoats — those have a clean image and considerable support at the ground level will be accepted in urban and semi-urban areas while a lenient stand will be taken for the defectors in the rural pockets.

In a meeting with the Bengal functionaries on Friday evening in Delhi, the saffron camp’s high-command made it clear that the allegation of corruption against Mamata Banerjee’s party will be one of the top agendas to sharpen attack in the next year’s election and before inducting turncoats, their public image will be scanned.

Ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP’s national leadership, which included PM Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, had hit out hard at Mamata Banerjee while campaigning in West Bengal on alleged corruption issues such as cut-money collection from the poor beneficiaries of government schemes and running syndicate system.

“We got a dividend of it as our tally in Lok Sabha reached 18 from 2. Recently, the state witnessed a series of agitations against Trinamool’s elected representatives and leaders in panchayat and municipality levels who were found diverting government compensation package meant for cyclone Amphan victims to the bank accounts of their family members and relatives. We have been asked to include this as one of the key issues in the agenda in the 2021 election along with irregularities of the ruling party. Our leadership in Delhi has also asked us to be careful about the defectors’ public image before inducting them,” said a BJP leader.

Other than the Amphan corruption, the saffron camp’s high-command also instructed the party’s Bengal chapter to highlight how the scam in the state’s public distribution system (PDS) deprived migrants who returned during the lockdown, said the leader.

The BJP is expecting a massive exodus from Trinamool as the ruling party’s leadership suspended several functionaries and show-caused hundreds of elected members and leaders in panchayat and municipality levels over the issue of Amphan corruption. “These sidelined functionaries may switch their allegiance to the BJP as our party is the only option left for them. We have been directed not to induct the ruling party’s suspended functionaries because it will not serve our purpose to attack Mamata Banerjee on corruption issues. The party high-command asked us to follow it strictly in urban areas,” said another BJP leader.

BJP’s Bengal functionaries admitted that their strength in rural pockets is not good enough to fight tooth and nail against the Trinamool. “Our leadership in Delhi told us to take a soft stand for the rural areas before rejecting turncoats who will want to join BJP. If a defector is found capable of fighting with Trinamool cadres, we may not hesitate to accept him or her.”

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