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BJP feelers to KPP chief Atul

Siliguri, May 26: Atul Roy, the president of the Kamtapur People’s Party, today said BJP leaders in north Bengal had invited him to join their party.

Asked if he would join, Roy said the proposal was under his “consideration”.

Roy’s claim came a day after the BJP’s Jalpaiguri district general secretary Bapi Goswami said a “top KPP leader” could join the BJP.

“We (KPP) had allied with the BJP in the recent Lok Sabha polls throughout north Bengal…. I have been approached by some regional leaders with a proposal to join the BJP. I am pondering over the invitation,” Roy said today, before leaving for New Delhi to attend the swearing-in of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister.

Asked about the purported invite to Roy to join the BJP, a KPP leader said: “I don’t know if our president has been approached by the BJP. The KPP is an ally of the BJP and there is no question of the BJP trying to woo our leaders. Our president left for Delhi today to attend the oath-taking. Once the government is formed, a KPP delegation will meet ministers in Delhi and discuss our demands like the separate state and recognition of Kamtapuri language with them.”

Some political observers said the feelers to Roy could be the BJP’s attempt to win over the Rajbangshi, who are dissatisfied with the lack of state initiatives for its youth, among them KLO militants who have surrendered and want to return to the mainstream.

“Rajbangshis, who form the majority voters at least in 20 of the 54 Assembly segments in north Bengal, are not satisfied with the state government…. Nothing so far has been done specifically for the Rajbangshis, most of whom are economically backward. Also, the state has not taken any initiative to help employ Rajbangshi youths, including former KLO militants,” an observer said.

“The BJP wants to cash in on this gap and win over the Rajbangshi vote bank.”

According to the observer, as the BJP has an alliance with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, the Gorkha and a section of tribal votes are with the party.

“If the party succeeds in winning Rajbangshi votes, it would largely help the party at the next Assembly polls,” the observers said.