77 Lakh People Join BJP In Bengal
BJP MP and State President Dilip Ghosh (C) felicitates former Mayor of Kolkata Sovan Chatterjee (R) who recently joined BJP as Prof. Baisakhi Chatterjee (L). (PTI) 

77 Lakh People Join BJP In Bengal


Buoyed by its performance in the last Lok Sabha polls, the West Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party has clocked a record membership of 77 lakh in the state, party leaders claimed on Thursday.

The Bengal BJP 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.

“As per the latest data, the membership drive has been immensely successful in Bengal. The central leadership initially had set a target of 50 lakh for Bengal, later it was increased to 60 lakh,” BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha told reporters.

“But we have surpassed that target, too, and with the membership drive closing on Aug. 20, we have now 77 lakh members across the state. It is indeed an achievement.”

It is a massive jump from the membership campaign that was done a few years back when the party had managed to enroll 42 lakh members in its fold, he said. Sinha said although the membership drive has closed in other parts of the country, but in a few states such as West Bengal, which are priority states for BJP, the exercise will continue till December this year.

"The central leadership had set a target of 60 lakh but the Bengal leadership had decided to get one crore members on board. Now we have reached a little above 77 lakh. So when this membership drive specifically for states like Bengal in December-end we will have more than one crore members," a beaming Sinha claimed.

Reacting to BJP’s claim, Trinamool Congress secretary general Partha Chatterjee wondered whether the 77 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 77 lakh members, we have doubts whether it is actually true or just a handiwork for BJP's fake news team,” Chatterjee said.

The countrywide BJP membership drive had started on July 6 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah launching it from Varanasi and Telangana respectively on the party ideologue Syama Prasad Mookerjee's birth anniversary.

The BJP, in the last few years, has made deep inroads in Bengal and has emerged as the main challenger to ruling TMC by pushing Congress and Left Front to distant third and fourth position respectively.

The BJP in 2019 Parliamentary elections 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.

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