Purulia board hurdle for BJP after poll leap

The panchayat poll results in Purulia that the Bengal BJP had been showcasing as a sign of its growing support in the state has become an embarrassment as the party has failed to form boards in several areas despite having the numbers.

By Abhijeet Chatterjee in Purulia
  • Published 9.09.18
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Purulia: The panchayat poll results in Purulia that the Bengal BJP had been showcasing as a sign of its growing support in the state has become an embarrassment as the party has failed to form boards in several areas despite having the numbers.

While BJP leaders have alleged that Trinamul-backed goons with the help of police prevented their winners from reaching rural body offices for formation of boards, a section of party workers blamed organisational deficiency.

"Trinamul and the administration worked together. Our state leaders didn't do anything to help us," said a BJP panchayat samiti member in Raghunathpur.

The BJP had got a majority in Raghunathpur I and II, Para and Balarampur panchayat samitis. It was the single-largest party in Bagmundi, Joypur, Barabazar and Santuri out of 20 panchayat samitis. But the party has managed to form boards only in Raghunathpur II and Bagmundi.

The BJP won most seats in 44 gram panchayats - out of 170 in the district - but could form boards in only 19. Of the 12 gram panchayats, where it emerged the single largest party, the BJP formed boards in seven with help from others.

Purulia has been one of the bright spots for the BJP in the panchayat polls. The death of three of its supporters during the poll process drew national attention. BJP president Amit Shah held a rally in Purulia on June 28 and called for uprooting Trinamul.

BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said it was "tough to resist state-sponsored terror" and added that the board formations would be challenged in court.

BJP state general secretary Sayantan Basu brushed aside suggestions of dismay in the ranks. "The more Trinamul uses force, our support will increase in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections."

Trinamul leaders denied the allegations. "If the BJP failed to bring its members to the meetings, what can we do? We did not prevent anyone," said Shantiram Mahato, minister and Trinamul's Purulia chief.

Trinamul sources dubbed Purulia as a "prestige fight". Abhishek Banerjee, Trinamul MP and chief minister Mamata Banerjee's nephew, is the party's Purulia observer.