Misconception over NRC, lack of campaign on CAB led to bypoll defeat, say BJP leaders

Kolkata: The West Bengal BJP unit has identified the "misconception over NRC" and its failure to counter it as one of the main reasons behind the party's defeat in the just-concluded bypolls in three Assembly segments of West Bengal, a senior party leader said on Saturday.

Apart from the NRC issue, complacency of party workers in certain areas and absence of "free and fair" polling in some of booths had led to the party's defeat, he added. "The Trinamool Congress (TMC) deliberately created panic and misconception over the NRC (National Register of Citizens), but we too failed to counter it with our narrative of the CAB (Citizenship Amendment Bill). This was one of the reasons behind the defeat. Apart from this, our cadre and leaders were complacent and did not work actively during the elections," the BJP leader said after a post-poll assessment meeting that ended late in the evening.

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The BJP has prepared a report, including inputs from the districts where the bypolls were held, and sent it to party president Amit Shah, sources said. Several senior BJP leaders, including its state vice-president Chandra Kumar Bose, have blamed the campaign over NRC for the party's defeat in the bypolls and called for a separate Bengal-specific strategy.

West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said the party's failure to carry forward the success of the Lok Sabha polls in the state was due to lack of experience. The ruling TMC won all the three seats -- Karimpur, Kaliagunj, Khargapur Sadar -- in the bypolls, relegating the BJP to the second position.