BJP running on thin ice in Bengal amid internal strife; Central leadership losing grip on the state unit?

Plagued by infighting and exodus, the West Bengal BJP, which is still licking its wounds after the assembly election debacle, sees bleak prospects in the state as senior leaders are on social media and leaving little time for the party’s development. are. , The churning had begun after the recent organizational reforms in the Bengal BJP, with several senior leaders and party legislators openly criticizing top officials over their decisions.

Due to the partition of the house, all damage control efforts seem to be delayed. BJP state spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said, “Yes, there have been some issues, some people are not happy, but we are hopeful that the problems will be resolved soon.”

BJP sources said the party, which was trying hard to keep its flock together after five MLAs, including former Union minister Babul Supriyo and its national vice president Mukul Roy, joined the TMC, part of an “internal party”. is facing. Angry leaders are holding separate meetings over being removed from key positions as “rebellion”.

According to sources, prominent Matua leader and Union minister Shantanu Thakur has recently quit the party’s WhatsApp groups and accused the state leadership of sidelining their community leaders for newcomers to the camp.

Nine BJP MLAs from the community, including Ashok Kirtaniya, Subrata Thakur and Mukutmani Adhikari, have been left out of the BJP MLAs’ WhatsApp group in the last one month. “It seems that the BJP no longer accepts the role played by the Matua community in the party. The way the party is being run by a handful of leaders is completely unacceptable. The committee of state office bearers was formed without any proper consultation,” said Shantanu Thakur.

Though the state leadership has taken note of the outrage and assured that things will be sorted out, the anger is still raging. Sources said the group of angry leaders is apparently in touch with other angry members from across the district and trying to bring them on a single platform.

“What did Matua get by supporting the BJP? Nothing. Neither CAA was implemented nor we were given minimum respect in the party. “We want to create a platform for disgruntled leaders so that they can air their views. We will wait for the central leadership to take action, hopefully once the UP elections are over,” a leader of the Matua community told PTI.

However, he warned that if their grievances are not addressed before next year’s panchayat elections, the group may think of forming a separate organisation. Some senior leaders who were dropped from the panel of office bearers, including Jai Prakash Majumdar, Ritesh Tiwari and Sayantan Basu, are also learned to have held a meeting with Shantanu Thakur.

“Committed and old-timers are being sidelined, and new entrants, who have hardly any organizational experience, are being promoted. There is no place for those who have raised slogans to ensure that the party’s vote share is increased from 4 per cent to 40 per cent.” A section of disgruntled leaders claimed that more than the new state president Sukant Majumdar, who took over last September. Year, it is state BJP general secretary (organisation) Amitabh Chakraborty who is facing the wrath of party members.

“The team of office-bearers who took the BJP to great heights in Bengal, at the behest of Mukul Roy, Babul Supriyo and, was upset over the removal of General Secretary (Organisation) Subrata Chatterjee in 2020, just six-seven months before the elections. some central leaders. Then imports from TMC were ticketed and the old ones were ignored. The result is known to all.’ Contested election.

“The ongoing tussle among the state leaders is badly affecting the morale of the party workers, and this has led to a fall in the vote share, as was evident during the last few by-polls and the KMC polls,” the BJP leader said. In the recently concluded KMC elections, TMC got around 71.95 per cent votes, while Left Front and BJP got 11.13 per cent and 8.94 per cent votes respectively.

State BJP chief Sukanta Majumdar, who did not wish to divulge much about his party’s next plan of action, said all issues would be resolved through discussions. The party’s national general secretary BL Santosh, who had visited the state last month, was aware of the rumblings of discontent, and promised to look into the grievances of the members.

Sources in the saffron camp said the central leadership is waiting for elections to be over in five states before taking steps in the state. It is feared that any action taken against the rebel leaders may further damage its popularity among backward communities, given the fact that many OBC leaders have left the saffron camp ahead of the elections in Uttar Pradesh.

The Matuas, who form a major part of the state’s scheduled caste population, have been with the saffron camp since the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. With an estimated three million members in the state, the community, which traces its ancestry to Bangladesh, dominates at least five Lok Sabha seats and about 50 assembly seats in Nadia, North and South 24 Parganas districts.

Thakur and her supporters have now demanded speedy implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which was passed in December 2019, in a bid to impress top BJP leaders. The CAA seeks to provide citizenship to persecuted minorities from neighboring countries. Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

When contacted, BJP National Vice President Dilip Ghosh said that the situation would be brought under control soon. “A new team has taken over, and we need to give them some time, allow them to work. Obviously, if someone is dropped, it can feel bad, but they always have to adjust afterward. Can be done. No one will be spared. Two-time Bengal BJP state president Ghosh said that every person who fights for the party is an asset.

However, political pundits believe that the squabbles and squabbles are the result of the central leadership rapidly losing its grip on the state unit. “There are many instances where the BJP has broken the whip to maintain discipline within the party. But the silence this time is a reflection of two things that the leadership is fast losing grip on the party, and it does not want to send the wrong message to its SC vote bank ahead of the UP elections,” said political analyst Suman Bhattacharya.

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