The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Buoyant BJP targets Left

Calcutta, Dec. 21: The state BJP today expressed confidence in Narendra Modi’s strategy to consolidate Hindu votes in Gujarat and dared the CPM to oppose its Hindutva line.

However, the two Union ministers from Bengal, Tapan Sikdar and Satyabrata Mukherjee, refused to share the state unit’s enthusiasm and stayed away from its two-day executive meeting that concluded in Maharashtra Nivas here today.

State BJP president Tathagata Roy refused to speculate on the reasons behind their absence with a cryptic: “They may be busy elsewhere.”

Reacting to CPM state secretary Anil Biswas’ remarks that the Modi line would not be tolerated in Bengal, Roy said: “We are ready to face the challenge of the Marxists. Nothing can stop us from campaigning against atrocities committed on Hindus in Bangladesh and to oppose pan-Islamic militancy aimed at destabilising the country’s independence and integrity.”

Claiming that Hindutva was always the BJP’s political plank, Roy explained: “Hindutva is different from Hinduism. Hindutva is only a way of social life for Indians, irrespective of their religion, caste and creed. We believe Hindutva and secularism are two sides of the same coin.”

The state unit chief blamed the media for misunderstandings between the BJP and the Trinamul Congress.

“We have explained to the Trinamul leadership that our Hindutva line is not aimed against Muslims or other religious communities. We treat Hindus and Muslims equally. What we oppose is the Marxist’s policy to play on the religious sentiment of the Muslims for electoral gains,” he said.

The state BJP today announced the adoption of a 10-point programme at its executive meet and declared the ruling CPM and allies its main enemies. The party also vowed to prevent the division of anti-Left votes.

Bengal voters are now polarised into pro- and anti-Left camps, the party’s political analysts said, adding that the Congress was already a “friend of the CPM”.

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