Bengalis find it hard to celebrate Diwali and Durga Puja due to Mamata's 'vote-bank politics': BJP

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Eyeing the main opposition role in West Bengal, the BJP today claimed "nationalist" leaders from the Congress and the Left in the state will join the saffron party as they are feeling insecure with the "appeasement politics" of Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee.

BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, who was with party president Amit Shah during his recent three-day tour to Bengal, said the local population is feeling "threatened" due to Banerjee's "vote bank politics".

Vijayvargiya, who is also the BJP in-charge for the state, indicated that the saffron party will use the plank of the 'native vs illegal immigrant' there like Assam, where it rallied the Hindu voters by taking up the issue of the alleged large scale illegal immigration from Bangladesh.

"The local Bengalis are finding their identity under threat due to Mamata Banerjee's appeasement and vote bank politics. They find it hard to celebrate Diwali and Durga Puja," he told reporters, in an oblique reference to the state's Hindu populace which is about 70 per cent of its total population.

With the strength of the Congress and the Left parties declining, their nationalist leaders will look for an option and the BJP will be their choice, he said.

He claimed that over 1.5 crore infiltrators from Bangladesh have been living in the state illegally. Winning over leaders from other parties has been a key tactic of the BJP and it used that to big effect in recent assembly elections in states like Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

The TMC has accused the BJP of communalism with Banerjee saying that it was polarising voters in the state for political gains. Vijayvargiya said the state's bureaucracy has been politicised under her government and police stations have become an extension of the Trinamool Congress office.

The state with 43 Lok Sabha seats has been identified as a key growth region for the BJP by Shah who will visit it again in the coming weeks. The party could win only two seats there in 2014 but has seen an increase in its vote share in various bye-elections.

Though the TMC remains the dominant force, the BJP has come second in several polls and believes that it can be a force to reckon with by the 2019 general election, replacing the Left and the Congress as principal challengers to the TMC.
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