BJP MLA praises CPM cadres for grassroots work
BJP minders for Bengal were in for a rude shock on Sunday when a party MLA reportedly criticised their approach towards panchayat polls at a closed-door meeting at the party’s Hastings office and praised the work of CPM cadres on the ground.
Sources present at the meeting said the reproof came from Narahari Mahato, the BJP’s Purulia MLA, who reportedly said the saffron party’s approach of setting up one committee after another to oversee the polls was superficial and real work on the ground was being done by the CPM.
Mahato spoke at the meeting chaired by Bengal BJP's observer Mangal Pandey and his deputies Amit Malviya and Asha Lakra.
“Although his (Mahato) comment came as a shock, what he said was true. The CPM is making better inroads in the grassroots than us,” a source, also a party MLA present at the meeting said.
Mahato, before he came to the BJP, had been with the All India Forward Bloc, the CPM’s partner in the Left Front.
The source added that on Sunday it was decided that the committee set up to oversee the BJP affairs for the panchayat polls, headed by MP Debasree Chaudhuri, would be expanded to include more members. Pandey also laid down a November 15 deadline for his party colleagues in Bengal to set up separate committees at all three tiers of the panchayat in each of its 42 organisational districts.
A person for each district has been assigned as co-ordinator to liaison between state-level panchayat committees and those in the districts.
“After many meetings of the panchayat committee, we are still busy altering that committee. When will our leaders understand that there is no time for this corporate-style approach? We need to reach out to people,” a source present at the meeting said.
Sharp criticism of the state BJP’s functioning came from yet another MLA, Bankim Ghosh, the BJP’s Chakdah MLA and a former member of the CPM, who spoke of his mistrust of the functioning of grassroots BJP workers. He reportedly said that tasks assigned by district leaders to booth-level workers are often done only on paper.
“Bankimda said the booth committees send positive reports to higher-ups, that the task given to them has been finished. In reality, they have not finished the job. He said there must be a mechanism to cross-check the reports,” a state BJP functionary said.
Internal criticism apart, the party leadership tried to put on a brave face. MP Chaudhuri said: “In 2018 we were inexperienced. But now we have expanded our base. If Trinamul attacks our workers during the panchayat polls we won’t sit quietly.”
At the meeting, Pandey prescribed the induction of workers from other parties such as Trinamul and the CPM ahead of panchayat polls to strengthen the organisation.
Pandey, Malviya, and Lakra along with BJP's central in-charge for Bengal Sunil Bansal are in Calcutta to participate in a two-day long organisational meeting that started on Sunday and will end on Monday.