BJP general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya indicated on Tuesday that the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal might not be able to complete its term and urged his party workers to prepare themselves as an "alternative force" before the assembly election.
Addressing his first meeting with elected representatives and state office bearers after the Lok Sabha election, Mr Vijayvargiya, who is in-charge of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Bengal, lashed out at chief minister Mamata Banerjee for being "an arrogant administrator".
"We don't know whether the TMC government will be able to continue in Bengal till 2021," Mr Vijayvargiya told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting in Kolkata.
"We want it to, but we are not sure whether it would be able to, as the people and party leaders are angry with the functioning of the government."
The Trinamool Congress, which lost 12 seats it held in the general election, faced another jolt when two legislators and a majority of councillors in four municipalities switched to the BJP after the results.
The BJP increased its tally from two to 18 out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state. The TMC's tally came down to 22 from the 34 seats it had won in 2014.
According to BJP sources, senior Trinamool Congress leaders, including elected representatives, are in touch with the BJP's top brass and have expressed their desire to switch over.
Mr Vijayvargiya claimed that the Trinamool Congress, led by Mamata Banerjee, had lost its golden opportunity to serve the people despite being voted to power for two consecutive terms.
Noting that "arrogance" had led to the Trinamool Congress's "doomsday" in Bengal, the BJP general secretary said, "Had the TMC been more humble, it would not have faced such a predicament."
"They (TMC) were so busy enjoying power that they forgot to serve the people. They unleashed a reign of terror and the people ended up voting against them," the BJP leader said.
"From here on, we should prepare ourselves for the next assembly polls in the state," he told party workers.
Mr Vijayvargiya also criticised Mamata Banerjee for losing her cool over 'Jai Shri Ram' chants.
"Is chanting 'Jai Shri Ram' a crime in Bengal?" he asked. "Why is it a crime, we would want Mamata Banerjee and the TMC leaders to explain."
Referring to the TMC chief's 'Jai Hind' and 'Joy Bangla' slogans, the senior BJP leader said his party never had any problem with those slogans. "We don't have any problem with these slogans as Jai Hind and Vande Mataram slogans are an integral part of our Independence struggle," he said.
Mr Vijayvargiya said the BJP's stupendous Lok Sabha election performance in Bengal should be accepted with humility, adding that the people were looking to the BJP as an alternative force in the next assembly polls.
The BJP leader urged all party representatives and leaders in the state to reach out to the masses and prepare for future challenges. "We have won hearts and blessings of the masses. In victory, we should be more humble and grounded. We should not be arrogant."
"People are watching us. The people of Bengal have ensured our victory. That means they have given us the responsibility," Mr Vijayvargiya said.
Among others who were present at the meeting were BJP state president Dilip Ghosh, general secretary (organisation) Ramlal, senior leaders Mukul Roy, Shiv Prakash and Arvind Menon.
"We should live up to the expectations of the people and work harder to fulfill them," Mr Vijayvargiya said. "The victory we have achieved this time in Bengal is the penultimate step. The final step will be our win in the assembly election in Bengal."
Dilip Ghosh, meanwhile, said that the BJP might have won 18 Lok Sabha seats, but there was no place for any complacency. "It is true that we have won 18 Lok Sabha seats in the state, but our target was 23. Despite the situation being in our favour, we need to find out why we couldn't win 23 Lok Sabha seats," he said.
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