Reconstituted BJP Central leadership creates big division in Bengal party ranks

Depending on Trinamool turncoats for fighting 2021 poll may boomerang on the saffron party

(From left) Mukul Roy, Anupam Hazra and Raju Bista (Photo courtesy: social media)
(From left) Mukul Roy, Anupam Hazra and Raju Bista (Photo courtesy: social media)

Arun Srivastava/IPA

Instead of banking on the RSS and committed BJP hands, the Home Minister, Amit Shah has put his bet on the Trinamool turncoats for navigating the assembly election waters of 2021 in West Bengal.

The reconstituted state committee of BJP made it crystal clear that Shah has lost his faith in the old veterans of the party who even in the face of stiff challenges from political adversaries dared to survive and float the party. At a closed door meeting of the party old timers, the leaders were unsparing and cautioned the leadership to be ready to face the consequences. Expressing their anguish, some of them sought to know that if they had not kept the party alive, where would these turncoats have gone and how the leadership could have aspired to rule the state.

For some time, the state unit has been witnessing a running feud between the warring section of the party on the issue of taking control of the organisation. A section of the leaders alleged that Mukul Roy, who was designated as the supreme leader of Bengal by virtue of his being made the national vice president, does not enjoy a nice track record. He was side lined by Mamata Banerjee for his alleged involvement in some scam. He was the number two in the TMC and if Mamata had desired, she could have done something to bail him out. But even she dithered. Now the same person is being presented as the public face of the Bengal BJP.

Besides Roy, yet another turncoat, Anupam Hazra has been made the national secretary in the reconstituted BJP national committee that was announced on Saturday by the party president JP Nadda. The Darjeeling MP Raju Bista, who was also formerly in TMC guy, has been made a national spokesperson. Theses inductions make it absolutely clear that Shah has taken the task to remove Mamata on highest priority. His action also makes it explicit that he has no trust on the ideology and politics of the party. For him what matters most is the slogans of Hindtuva and Jai Sri Ram.

Projecting the TMC guys as the vanguard also makes it clear that he is willing to give a nice burial to the political decency. As these turncoats are aware of the tactics of Mamata Banerjee, the party will resort to the tactics of countering them by all means. Obviously in this backdrop, any resistance or protest to the party’s decision to induct the turncoats will prove to be irrelevant.

On their part, these turncoat leaders are also sceptical of their future if they fail to deliver the desired result. The situation is akin to the underworld operation where the operator is supposed to deliver the result or get ready to be shooed away. This change is not only confined to some stray relocations, even major changes have been carried out at the district levels.

Murmuring of discontent over Trinamool turncoats gaining prominence in the party has been brewing in the state BJP for nearly four months; written complaints against some of the leaders about how they have been accepting grafts in cash and kind were also lodged with the central leadership. But it is the absence of any remedial measure that has caused much consternation in the party circle.

Nevertheless, what has caused immense outburst in the party circle is sacking of the redoubtable Rahul Sinha, the all India general secretary. Roy’s elevation and inclusion of Hazra on the list of national secretaries at the expense of two-time state president Rahul Sinha has triggered severe rebellion. There is a lurking perception that Mission Bengal may not yield desired result as it has further deepened the cracks in the Bengal unit of the party.

This move of the BJP leadership has provided the right ambience to the Trinmool leadership to put its house in order. Already a number of TMC leaders who had left the party are returning back to their parent organisation. Some leaders say that the BJP has been adjusting the TMC guys out of fear that they might desert the party just ahead of the elections. In that case, the BJP would not be getting sufficient number of candidates to contest the election.

Though some old leaders realise this propensity, they at the same time say that in general this decision would not help the interest of the party. “It is good that the party leadership kept Bengal in focus during the rejig.… But it’s sad to see new entrants in the party getting prominent positions while the loyal supporters are getting sidelined,” said a state leader preferring to be anonymous. Meanwhile Rahul Sinha circulated a video message making his displeasure clear: “After 40 years of serving the party through thick and thin this is my reward. I had to step aside to make room for someone who has switched over from Trinamool. I don’t have anything else to say”. His supporters claim that he will divulge his future plans within a fortnight. Several state BJP leaders said the rejig did not respect the contributions of old-timers: “If the core of the party is unhappy, the impact will be felt in the elections”.

It is worth mentioning that the BJP state president Dilip Ghosh has been involved in a running feud with Roy. If the party sources are to be believed, they are not even at the talking terms. Ghosh was not even assigning him any task or allowing him to perform any significant role in the state party. This behaviour of Ghosh was disliked by most of the party leaders. It is said that though Roy has been made the national vice president, the possibilities are remote that Ghosh will allow him to interfere in the state matters.

The supporters of Ghosh are however sceptical that Roy may be instrumental in denying tickets to the supporters of Ghosh for the assembly elections. With this suspicion in mind the supporters of Ghosh are contemplating to petition Nadda and Shah to ensure that Roy’s opinion does not prevail in this matter. The old leaders also raise accusing fingers towards the party MP Arjun Singh, a former senior TMC leader and close friend of Roy for creation of this situation.

Of late Singh has been facing some cases. Even the Governor Jagdeep Dhankar had sent a letter to state’s DGP Virendra on September 5 seeking details of the probe against the BJP MP. Mamata on Saturday sent a missive to Dhankhar pointing out that his recent queries into criminal investigations against an accused amounted to interference in state government’s day-to-day administration and asked if it was an attempt to influence the probe. An “upset, anguished, and disillusioned” Mamata reminded the governor of his role as stated in Article 167 of the Constitution.

The letter read; “At the outset, I wish to call upon the wisdom of B.R. Ambedkar… who, while explaining Article 167 of the Constitution, had opined that the Hon’ble Governor is like the British Crown and thus the Hon’ble Governor has no right to interfere with the ‘day-to-day’ administration of the State Government”. The letter further read; “He (Ambedkar) further stated that under the Article 167, the only information that the Hon’ble Governor is entitled to, is regarding executive and legislative proposals of the ministry, from the Chief Minister”.

Her letter read: “Sadly, your inquiry into criminal investigations in connection with a particular accused Mr. A. Singh, and seeking ‘reports’ regarding the investigation processes from the Director General of Police is not an information regarding any executive or legislative proposal and such inquiry not only amounts to interference in the day-to-day administration of the State Government but also gives rise to serious suspicions of interference in and influencing on-going investigations.”

“This may also give rise to a wrong impression in the mind of persons accused in various criminal cases that the Hon’ble Governor, instead of the Hon’ble Judiciary, is now the appropriate authority in the State to approach to seek redressal of grievances, if any, in an ongoing investigation process,” the letter reads.

Sources confide that the running feud between Mamata and Dhankar, could be used by the central BJP leadership to send the message to the TMC rank and file that she was on a sticky wicket and ultimately the Centre could use it to destabilise her. An insecure voter would certainly not like to rally behind her.

Amit Shah is desperately trying to erase the bad memory of the people about his protecting the criminals who had vandalised Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar’s bust that coincided with the close of the BJP leader’s road show in Calcutta last year. Shah in a recent tweet addressed him as Vidyasagar Ji. His bust was smashed at a north Calcutta college named after him, allegedly by participants from Shah’s road show.

The new committee of the party’s state women’s wing has also come under severe criticism for dropping of some existing committed members. Those dropped alleged; “We don’t even know some of the new members in the state committee. We went out to the streets and worked for the party and now we get no recognition in return”.

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