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Business News/ Politics / BJP to take on Mamata Banerjee's women-centric poll agenda in Bengal?
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BJP to take on Mamata Banerjee's women-centric poll agenda in Bengal?

BJP aims to expand support among women voters in key states, highlighting Modi government's initiatives for women empowerment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public meeting (PTI)Premium
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a public meeting (PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be addressing the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) Mahila Morcha in West Bengal on 7 March. The BJP seems to be going all out on the “Mahila" or the women-centric poll agenda ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections. Political analysts believe this very women centric agenda had brought Mamata Banerjee back in power in West Bengal, an agenda that BJP missed. 

However, with the Sandeshkhali incidences that brought to attention the alleged sexual atrocities by TMC strongman Shajahan Sheikh, might have put the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee-led party in the defensive. 

In keeping with the saffron party's women-centric poll agenda ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections, PM Modi is likely to make some “big announcements" with focus on the women voters on March 8 on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

According to an Indian Express report, BJP would make attempts to expand its support base among women in several key states in a bid to overcome disenchantment among over issues like unemployment, inflation, and farm distress.

In West Bengal, the BJP’s high-decibel campaign over the Sandeshkhali incidents in North 24 Parganas and PM Modi’s attack on the ruling TMC over “atrocities against women of Sandeshkhali" – during his address at Arambagh rally in Hooghly district last Friday – signalled the party’s women-centric approach to increase its Lok Sabha tally from West Bengal.

An approach that guaranteed a TMC win in the state in the past elections.

Therefore, the Sandeshkhali incident only earns BJP brownie points with the voters in West Bengal. 

TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh, who had been on the run for 55 days, and his aides also faced allegations of sexual abuse and land grabbing from local women.

The women voters had strongly backed the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC, fuelling its return to power for a third term in 2021. To retain the loyalty of its women voters, TMC suspended Shajahan Sheikh from the party for six years. However, the move came only after Sheikh was arrested by the West Bengal Police following a Calcutta High Court directive and deadline.

Amidst such turmoil in West Bengal, PM Modi is expected to address the national meeting of the BJP Mahila Morcha in Barasat in North 24 Parganas on March 7. 

Indian Express reports, BJP has asked its leaders across Bengal to campaign heavily on the Sandeshkhali issue and project the TMC and other Opposition parties as “anti-women" while highlighting the initiatives taken by the Modi government for the welfare and empowerment of women. 

(Mint could not independently verify this information)

BJP failed to stall CM Mamata Banerjee’s third term in West Bengal because of the “overwhelming support" TMC got from women. Women overtook men in voting in the 2021 Bengal elections, which saw a turnout of 81.7% female voters as against 81.4% male voters.

The Indian Express report adds that PM Modi in its interactions with BJP leaders often reminds them that women voters are going to be the “game changer" in the electoral scene.

The BJP has fielded 28 women in its first list of 195 candidates announced on Saturday.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sayantani Biswas
Sayantani is an editor with Livemint. She covers stories of International and Indian politics, conflict
Catch all the Politics News and Updates on Live Mint. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.
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Published: 05 Mar 2024, 08:25 PM IST
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