New Delhi: Ahead of the 2021 electoral battle in West Bengal, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to intensify its ‘Save Bengal’ campaign, which it claims is a “non-political” platform for professional and intellectuals to highlight the “misgovernance” of the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamul Congress (TMC).

The saffron party has emerged as the main challenger to the TMC, especially after the recently-concluded Lok Sabha polls when it won 18 parliamentary seats and significantly increased its vote share to nearly 41 per cent.

The state is often in the news for violent clashes between TMC and BJP cadres, with the saffron party’s leadership accusing the ruling party of unleashing “political violence” against its opponents for “vote-bank politics”.

Along with its ongoing membership drive, the BJP has also launched a volunteer drive to rope in Bengalis, including those living outside the state, to help the party connect with people of the state where the BJP has emerged as the main challenger to the ruling TMC.

Though the events under the campaign were held mostly in urban and semi-urban areas, the party now wants it to make a mark at the grass-roots level as well.

These volunteers will assist the ‘Save Bengal’ campaign, which the party claimed played a major role in highlighting how the BJP is the “only credible alternative” to the “TMC’s misrule” in the state.    

Under the campaign, seminars, intellectual meets and group discussions are held by professionals, including those living outside the state, on issues concerning the state. The campaign was launched ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. The party had claimed that many Bengalis were miffed with the TMC and its governance and wanted to associate with the “BJP’s efforts” but without joining the party and the campaign gave them an opportunity.

BJP national joint general secretary (organisation) and RSS pracharak Shiv Prakash is overseeing the campaign.

The BJP already has a databank of nearly 5,000 volunteers, mostly professionals, but it claims that many homemakers, including from the state, wanted to “associate and contribute” to the campaign. Many of these volunteers are also “social media warriors”, who played a key role in the-recently concluded Lok Sabha polls.

The party has set an ambitious target of increasing its members in the state to one crore during the ongoing membership drive.