Arjun Singh summoned to Delhi day after jute crusade
Arjun Singh was on Saturday summoned to Delhi by Union minister of textiles Piyush Goyal, a day after the BJP’s Barrackpore MP wrote to the chief ministers of five states, including Bengal, asking for their help to resolve the “jute crisis” reportedly perpetrated by the price cap of Rs 6,500 on every quintal of raw jute.
“Yes, I have been called for a meeting with Mr Goyal tonight. He called me this (Friday) morning asking me to come,” said Singh, speaking to this newspaper over the phone while on his way to Delhi.
Singh had written to Goyal on April 19 asking for his intervention in the purported crisis across the country and had set for the minister a one-week deadline for action. Failing that, Singh had said he would launch a protest in front of the jute commissioner’s office in Calcutta.
BJP sources said the week-long series of incidents had snowballed into an “embarrassment” for the party and Goyal’s meeting with Singh on Saturday night was aimed at addressing the crisis.
“Singh is a Trinamul turncoat who has been in the BJP for only three years, since the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. It is understandable that his recent actions would shake up the top brass of the BJP,” said a Bengal BJP leader.
“Singh has also gone on record recently speaking favourably about chief minister Mamata Banerjee and said he was open to working with Trinamul to bring an end to the jute crisis, sparking rumours about a possible return to the party,” the leader added.
Singh has gone on record on multiple occasions in the past few days pledging his support to Mamata if she takes up the jute issue with the Centre. He said that if the jute crisis — which led to the closure of multiple jute mills in the past year — was not addressed, he would lose the next elections from Barrackpore.
Trinamul MP Dola Sen went to the extent of welcoming Singh back to his old party if he so wanted, intensifying the speculation about his “homecoming”.
Goyal’s call to Singh, according to multiple sources in the BJP, was an attempt to put an end to the crisis that had developed over the Centre’s jute policy.