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regular-article-logo Thursday, 18 April 2024

Bengal BJP leadership needs approval of central screening committee before inducting leaders from rival parties

Party learnt lesson 'the hard way' from misadventures of high-profile TMC turncoats

Saibal Gupta Calcutta Published 04.01.24, 04:48 AM
Dilip Ghosh.

Dilip Ghosh. File picture

The Bengal BJP leadership will have to seek the approval of the party's central screening committee before inducting leaders from rival parties seeking to join it.

Taking lessons from induction exercises held in the past, the BJP wants to be cautious before taking in people from rival parties. As a first step, a couple of weeks ago the party set up a screening committee at the national level.

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The BJP's central screening committee will hold its first meeting on January 6 to decide on the parameters that leaders who want to join the saffron camp must fulfil.

The screening is crucial for Bengal as there was a rush of leaders, particularly from Trinamul, to join the BJP two or three years ago, but most of them did not stay on.

Several senior BJP leaders welcomed the move and said that notable exceptions like Suvendu Adhikari apart, many big names of Trinamul who had joined the saffron camp before the 2021 Assembly polls returned to Bengal's ruling party after the elections.

“This (screening) is a welcome move because many people come to the BJP without understanding its ideology. They come for temporary gains. Such actions not only disrupt the party's organisational framework but also adversely impact dedicated party workers and leaders. In several instances, we have observed that this behaviour leaves a negative imprint on the mind of the general populace as well,” MP and former state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said.

According to party insiders, 34 Trinamul legislators joined the BJP because of differences with Trinamul or after being denied a ticket or with the belief that their political future lay with the BJP.

The defectors included heavyweights like Suvendu Adhikari, Rabindranath Bhattacharya, Rajiv Banerjee, Dinesh Trivedi, Mithun Chakraborty, Baishali Dalmiya and Jitendra Tiwari.

“Leaders like Rajiv Banerjee have gone back to Trinamul. Several others are willing to go back to Trinamul but can’t do so because their old party is not taking them back. In other words, most Trinamul leaders who joined the BJP before the Assembly polls have become inactive,” a senior party leader said.

The case of Mukul Roy is even more intriguing. A well-known Trinamul leader, he switched sides in 2017. He became an MLA on a BJP ticket in 2021, but went back to Trinamul days after the May 2 results when Mamata Banerjee returned to power for the third consecutive time.

The Bengal BJP has made a strategic decision to refrain from recruiting top Trinamul leaders before the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar recently said that the party had learned its lesson.

"We have learned our lesson the hard way. We won't make the same mistake again. Our party won't permit the entry of these 'criminal' Trinamul leaders," Majumdar had said after an organisational meeting.

While the BJP is not interested in inducting big names of Trinamul, it is open to welcoming grassroots workers from its rivals, a senior party leader said.

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