(New intro, incorporating additional details) Kolkata, Nov 11 (PTI) After clinching the Bihar assembly polls, West Bengal will be the 'prime focus' for BJP where it has set a target of winning more than 200 seats in the state elections due in April-May 2021, party national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said on Wednesday.
The NDA has won 125 seats in the 243-member Bihar assembly, results of which were declared on Tuesday. The BJP with its score of 74 seats has emerged as the party to have won the second highest number of seats after Lalu Prasad's RJD.
The saffron party's tally is much higher than that of its ally - the JD(U) which won 43 seats.
It will now shift its focus to politically crucial West Bengal, which sends 42 MPs to the Lok Sabha - two more than Bihar, Vijayvargiya, who is also BJP's in-charge of Bengal, said.
The BJP, which has made deep inroads in West Bengal by winning 18 of its 42 Lok Sabha seat - four less than ruling TMC in the 2019 general election, was waiting for the Bihar election results before mounting its 'final assault' on the Mamata Banerjee government, party sources said.
Vijayvargiya is of the opinion that not just Bihar assembly poll results, the saffron party's victory in several by-polls across the country show that not only has the faith of the people in it increased but also in the policies of the BJP government at the Centre.
'A victory always increases the morale of the party workers. BJP's win in Bihar and the by-polls will act as a morale booster for its workers in the state. West Bengal will now be our prime focus state.
'The ground in Bengal is well prepared for a change and we have to ensure that the anger against the TMC government is channelised. We will use all our energy to free the people of the state from the misrule of TMC,' he said.
Vijayvargiya asserted that BJP's victory in West Bengal will be 'much bigger' as it will 'storm to power with a two-thirds majority'.
'If you analyse the Bihar and by-poll results you will see that BJP's strike rate is very good. In Bengal we are fighting alone, so we are confident of crossing the target of 200 plus seats in the state,' he said.
Union Home Minister and top BJP leader Amit Shah during his visit to the state last week had said that West Bengal is the 'prime focus state' for the party and it will 'fight and win it with a massive mandate'.
BJP state chief Dilip Ghosh had echoed him and said 'After Bihar it will be West Bengal for the BJP.' 'The saffron wave witnessed in neighbouring Bihar will sweep away the TMC in West Bengal too. The difference between the elections in the two states is that we were in power in Bihar for nearly 15 years, but in West Bengal we are a challenger,' Ghosh said.
A section of the state BJP leaders, however, underlined that the Bihar election results will have little impact on polls in West Bengal, other than seats along the border. But it will act as a 'morale booster' for party workers in Bengal.
Several state BJP leaders said the party will take a cue from the Bihar poll results and 're-strategise' its campaign issues for the West Bengal elections.
To corner TMC, the BJP has been so far stressing on its alleged misrule, law and order issues, violence, corruption and the state administration's handling of the COVID-19 situation in West Bengal.
'The Bihar election results have shown that issues like unemployment and migrant labour crisis are crucial in several seats. So we need to stress upon these problems as well.
'As Bihar was the first state to hold assembly poll after the COVID-19 outbreak, there are a few things all of us need to learn from it,' a senior West Bengal BJP leader said.
Although BJP has the advantage of being an 'untested challenger' in West Bengal where it has never been in power, the party is well aware that it will be up against Mamata Banerjee, who has the reputation of being a tough fighter, party sources said.
'If RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav can put up such a fight (in Bihar), it is anyone's guess the kind of contest we will face in West Bengal,' another state BJP leader said.
As per the parliamentary poll results, the saffron camp had bagged 40.5 per cent votes and was ahead in more than 125 assembly seats in the state.
The central BJP leadership has asked the state leaders to fan out to the districts and organise agitations and mass mobilisations on issues the people are concerned about, before the Congress and Left Front capitalises on those problems, sources in the saffron party said.
'People will see several agitations in different assembly segments over local issues from November-December onwards,' a BJP leader said adding the party is also working to plug the gaps in its organisational strength in some districts.
The Trinamool Congress mocked the saffron party's target of winning more than 200 seats in the state.
'As far as coming to power in West Bengal is concerned, the BJP is still living in a fool's paradise. Its candidates will lose deposits in most of the seats,' TMC MP and spokesperson Saugato Roy said. PTI PNT KK KK KK