regular-article-logo Wednesday, 07 June 2023

Central role worries BJP unit

Several state saffron party leaders are sceptical of the ‘overdose’ of national leaders, who allegedly share little connection with the ethos of Bengal

Arkamoy Datta Majumdar Calcutta Published 12.07.22, 01:27 AM
Representational image

Representational image Shutterstock

BJP’s decision to airdrop national leaders to Bengal to strengthen its organisation ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls has left state functionaries worried as they feel it would lead to a repeat of the 2021 debacle when the party could not come anywhere near their target of 200 seats in the Assembly polls.

Several state BJP leaders are sceptical of the “overdose” of national leaders, who allegedly share little connection with the ethos of Bengal, and feel the party is yet to learn a lesson from the 2021 drubbing purportedly caused by excessive intervention of the central leadership.


“We all know that the people of Bengal didn’t feel connected with our leaders from outside. Neither were they clued to Bengal’s culture, nor did they have any idea of politics here,” said a state BJP office-bearer.

“Public meetings of Union home minister Amit Shah and party president J.P. Nadda had failed to draw crowds at several places. What if people reject them once again?”

The BJP has identified 19 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal where central leaders, including ministers such as Kiren Rijiju, Dharmendra Pradhan and Bhupendra Yadav, will visit and prepare a report on the party’s organisational strength.

Union minister Smriti Irani had already visited the Howrah district on Sunday and presided over organisational meetings. The exercise is being carried out in 160 seats nationally, which the party has identified as its weakest links.

“Ours is a national party. National leaders visit all states and this is how things work here. Anyone who has a problem with it will have to abide by what the party decides,” Dilip Ghosh, a national vice president of the party, said.

However, sources in the BJP recalled the “humiliation” Ghosh had to face at the hands of national leaders ahead of the Assembly polls, when he was the chief of the Bengal unit. Ghosh’s aides and many others in the party had alleged complete takeover of the organisation by the Delhi unit.

In October 2020, Subrata Chatterjee, who is considered a trusted man of Ghosh, was replaced by Amitava Chakraborty as the state general secretary (organisation). Days before that, a national leader had reportedly called Chatterjee to Bhubaneswar and threatened to remove both him and Ghosh if they didn’t fall in line.

Similarly, Ghosh was not consulted before announcing the name of Col. Diptangshu Chowdhury, a Trinamul turncoat, as the party’s candidate for Durgapur East constituency.

“Many other decisions taken by the central leadership during Dilipda’s tenure had humiliated him,” a source close to Ghosh said.

BJP’s minder for Bengal Kailash Vijayvargiya was the man calling the shots at that time. He, along with Trinamul turncoat Mukul Roy, was allegedly taking all decisions.

Since the electoral defeat and Roy’s return to Trinamul, Vijayvargiya has not been seen in Bengal as protests against him erupted within the state unit. However, he remains the BJP’s minder for the state.

“The new state leadership is probably still unaware of what the frequent visits from the Delhi leaders hold for them in the future,” the source said.

Follow us on: