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BJP claims rise in numbers

Calcutta, Oct 7: Rahul Sinha, today elected unopposed as the state BJP chief for the second consecutive time, said his party had made steady inroads in almost all districts and its members had increased to 2.68 lakh from 90,000 in 2009.

“We have consolidated the organisation in almost all the districts across Bengal, including the Maoist-infested Jungle Mahal. Our members have increased to 2.68 lakh till September 30 from merely 90,000 in 2009. Ours is a phenomenal growth in the three years,” he said.

Asked about the reason for the party’s growth in Bengal, he said a large number of “disgruntled” partymen from the CPM, Congress and even from the ruling Trinamul Congress was joining the party.

Sinha, who took over as state president in 2009 from former minister Satyabrata Mukherjee, was later elected unopposed the same year. He was elected today for another three years.

State BJP leaders claimed that over 16,000 people had enrolled as members in the Jungle Mahal — comprising Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore — in the last three months. “People sidelined in the CPM Congress and Trinamul, are defecting to the BJP. This disgruntled lot is working hard for the expansion of the organisation in the rural belt. And this has stood us in good stead before the panchayat polls,” said a state BJP general secretary.

At present, the BJP has nearly 1,100 members in the gram panchayats, 116 in panchayat samitis and two zilla parishad members. “We have members in zilla parishad in Malda and Birbhum,” said a state BJP vice-president.

A large number of party workers and leaders from neighbouring districts such as Howrah, Hooghly and the two Parganas today assembled near a makeshift stage in front state BJP office in central Calcutta in hired buses and trucks long before Sinha was declared elected president unopposed.

“Today’s gathering was indicative of the party’s consolidation in the state,” claimed Sinha.

Congress, CPM and Trinamul leaders rubbished the BJP’s claim about the party’s growth. “I don’t think that party people despite being sidelined in the organisation would defect to BJP that has no firm foot fold in Bengal,” claimed state Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya.