Hint of BJP turmoil

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Calcutta
  • Published 5.12.04
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Calcutta, Dec. 5: Days before BJP president L.K. Advani comes to the city, former state chief of the party Tapan Sikdar floated a ?non-political? outfit in a perceived challenge to the present leadership.

He also lined up a string of movements under the banner of the Shyamaprasad Jagaran Manch. ?Our members will take to the streets from next week to highlight people?s causes,? said Sikdar.

He added that an apolitical forum would have to take up the cudgels against the ruling CPM when the Opposition BJP ?keeps mum on burning issues? like infiltration and criminalisation of politics.

The new outfit will organise a day?s sit-in opposite Metro cinema on December 17 as part of its statewide agitation. This will be followed by a string of rallies in the districts.

Besides Sikdar, a host of key party functionaries, including its former minority cell chief Muzaffar Khan, former general secretary Pratap Banerjee and former treasurer Sanat Dutta, were present at a convention of dissidents today.

Former Union minister of state for small-scale industries, Sikdar was twice elected state BJP president in the eighties and still wields clout on a sizeable section of leaders.

Tathagata Roy, who is now the Bengal BJP president, called Sikdar?s move ?anti-party? and asked him to ?get ready for consequences?.

Roy said: ?Sikdar was not born yesterday and he knows well the consequences awaiting him in the near future. Let Advaniji come here and we shall brief him about Sikdar?s gameplan.?

The protest meetings, Roy said, were aimed at ?embarrassing the leadership?. It is ?a ploy to show his strength after six months in the wilderness?.

A section of the BJP insiders feared a split after today?s developments.