| Sikdar and Roy in Malda. Picture by Surojit Roy
Nov. 24: Acting on orders from the high command, state BJP president Tathagatha Roy rushed to Malda this morning to iron out differences with Union minister Tapan Sikdar but the only real outcome of the closed-door meeting between the two later was the announcement of another round of talks.
Though both leaders described the one-to-one at the Malda Circuit House as “cordial”, they made it plain that no agreement was reached. They would meet again in Calcutta on Thursday. The venue was kept a secret.
The squabbling leaders, under pressure from the BJP’s national leadership to tone down their clash of rhetorics, however, desisted from speaking against each other in public today. “Tapanda brought me into the BJP. There is no question of showing any disrespect to him,” the state party president said. “His (Sikdar’s) position in the party is unassailable.”
Roy acknowledged that there was “a misunderstanding” between them. “But which party can claim that they are free of such misunderstandings'” he asked.
“Doesn’t Subhas Chakraborty have differences with Biman Bose in the CPM or Somen Mitra with Priya Ranjan Das Munshi in the Congress' But the newspapers are trying to create a rift between us.”
CPM workers have “infiltrated” into the BJP and are trying to create trouble, Roy said. “I will name them when the situation is right.”
After Roy took over as the state unit chief replacing Sikdar loyalist Asim Ghosh, the Union minister of state for chemicals and fertiliser had publicly expressed resentment over the manner in which the new state party executive was formed minus most of his men.
Sikdar had also described Roy’s overtures to Trinamul Congress chief Mamata Banerjee for a seat-share deal during the panchayat elections as “abject surrender”.