Kolkata, October 9: Buoyed by its stupendous performance in the last Lok Sabha poll, the West Bengal BJP is all set to achieve a record membership of one crore in the state, party leaders claimed on Wednesday. The Bengal BJP unit has surpassed the target set by the central leadership to enroll 60 lakh members when the countrywide membership drive began on July 6, according to the party sources.
Although the membership drive across the country closed on August 20, it is on in a few states such as West Bengal, which are priority states for the BJP, and the exercise in these states will continue till December this year, party leaders said. BJP West Bengal MP SS Ahluwalia Dances During Ganesh Chaturthi 2019 Celebrations, Watch Video.
As per the data released by the state BJP on August 22, the BJP had clocked 77 lakh membership. "As per the latest record 96 lakh people have applied for the BJP membership. By the beginning of November we would cross one crore mark. The response among the masses is huge. Everyday we are receiving thousands of applications," a senior state BJP leader said.
According to Tushar Ghosh, convenor of the BJP's membership drive in Bengal, after the process of enrolling cadres gets over the process of sorting out would start. "More than 90 lakh people so have have taken the membership either online or offline. According to the trend, we would soon cross one crore mark, the target set by our state president Dilip Ghosh. So once this membership process gets over we would start the process of verifying details and background," Ghosh told PTI.
Since 2014 Lok Sabha poll, the BJP has grown by leaps and bounds in the state. In 2009, the BJP in Bengal had garnered around 1.75 lakh membership. The figures went upto nearly 43 lakh during the membership drive in 2014, when the party on its own bagged 18 percent votes and two Lok Sabha seats.
"These figures are a testament that people of the state have already chosen us as the alternative to TMC in the next assembly polls," BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said. Reacting to the BJP's claim, TMC leader Tapas Roy doubted, whether the 96 lakh members are "real members or a handiwork of BJP's fake news team".
"Last time they had claimed they have 42 lakh members. Later it was found most of them were fake members. Now they are saying they have 96 lakh members, I am sure you all will again find out that it is just a handiwork for BJP's fake news team," Roy said.
The BJP in the last few years has made deep inroads in Bengal and emerged as the main challenger to the ruling TMC by pushing Congress and Left Front to distant third and fourth position respectively.
The BJP in 2019 Parliamentary election bagged 18 out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state, just four less than the ruling TMC. The TMC's tally has come down from 34 in 2014 to 22 seats in this election. The saffron party leaders are now asserting that their next target is to unseat Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from the power in 2021 state election.