Anti-social activities through vast unguarded sections of the Indo-Bangladesh border and West Bengal government's "soft stand" on infiltrators are the major issues in the state in the run-up to the 2019 general election as they pose serious threat to the country's internal security, says state BJP President Dilip Ghosh.
Speaking to IANS at his party's state headquarters in central Kolkata, Ghosh said lack of women's safety, rampant corruption and political violence by the state's ruling Trinamool Congress are also important election issues in Bengal for the saffron outfit.
"In our view, border security, infiltration and state's overall security are the major issues in West Bengal," he said.
"Out of the 2,217 km of international border between Bangladesh and West Bengal, more than 1,000 km is unguarded. Many terrorists and anti-nationals get into the country from there. It is causing major security concerns for Bengal as well as the entire country. Today, one of the main concerns over India's internal security is the unguarded Bengal borders," Ghosh said.
"Women security in the state is a major concern. Corruption, political violence by the ruling party is also rampant. These are important problems which must be addressed," Ghosh said.
Talking about BJP's poll preparedness in Bengal, Ghosh said the party has made massive inroads at the grassroots level of the statein the last few years. "The party can win more than 22 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats -- a target set by BJP chief Amit Shah.
"Amit Shah has increased our target from 22 to 23 seats in Bengal. The target has been raised as possibilities are increasing. Earlier no one used to count BJP in Bengal. But the party's state unit has worked very hard over the last few years to take the party to the grassroots."
"That's why Bengal is in prime focus of the BJP. Shah and Modi have visited the state a number of times and will come again before the polls. They know Bengal BJP is capable of giving a good output," said Ghosh, who is expected to contest from the state's Medinipur Lok Sabha seat in West Medinipur district.
"We will give tough fight in all 42 seats and can win in any of them. No seat is completely out of our reach. The party has made remarkable recovery in places considered our weak links," he said.
About the recent surge in the number of opposition party leaders joining the BJP in Bengal, Ghosh said that was so because the party has emerged as the only alternative capable of bringing about a change in Bengal.
"We had been in power in 19 states. Naturally, we could win so much because people from other parties joined us. Many more will come. Changing parties is not new in politics. It has been happening everywhere for many years."
Ghosh said many people in Bengal have been deeply offended by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's attempt to raise question on the Indian Air Force air strike in Balakot, across the Line of Control (LoC) and would give her a "befitting reply" by rejecting her party in the polls.
He said people of Bengal are also happy with the Modi government's decision to give Indian Army a free hand to respond to Pakistan's atrocities following the Pulwama terror strike last month.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)