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Modi virtual presence can’t hide rift in Bengal BJP

State party president Dilip Ghosh’s ‘lobby’ skips virtual event
Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he inaugurates a Durga Puja pandal via videoconferencing in New Delhi on Thursday.

Arkamoy Datta Majumdar   |   Calcutta   |   Published 23.10.20, 01:09 AM

Even the Prime Minister’s virtual presence couldn’t hide the rifts in Bengal BJP.

As Narendra Modi inaugurated Bengal BJP’s Durga Puja at the Eastern Zonal Cultural Complex through a virtual speech on Thursday, many from state party president Dilip Ghosh’s “lobby” skipped the event.

Ghosh’s absence was justified as he had recently contracted Covid-19, said a source. But virtually all leaders at EZCC were close to the Kailash Vijayvargiya-Mukul Roy lobby.

“Dilipda’s lobby has taken a back seat,” a party source told this paper. 

Parliamentarians Locket Chatterjee, Babul Supriyo, Swapan Dasgupta and Arjun Singh, Arvind Menon, the party’s co-minder in Bengal, national joint general secretary (organisation) Shivprakash and two other TMC turncoats — Sabyasachi Dutta and Shankudeb Panda — attended the event.

Bengal BJP general secretaries Subrata Chatterjee and Sayantan Basu, said to be close to Ghosh, did not show up, though *Basu* later said he was in Howrah *while Chatterjee was in Burdwan*. Ghosh’s aides Pratap Banerjee, Agnimitra Paul and Raju Banerjee came, but the latter looked disinterested in the goings-on. 

When leaders inside the auditorium were asked to come onstage and play the dhaak, Raju Banerjee stayed away.

Basu later explained his absence. 

“I am the president of different pujas in Howrah. I had told the party that I would be in Howrah listening to the PM,” he said.

In the evening, the media cell of the state BJP unit circulated a Durga Puja video message by Ghosh that had no mention of the puja hosted by his own party.


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