Leaders who switched over to the BJP from other parties since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls have been given key organisational posts amid murmurs that the central leadership wants to send out a signal that their abilities will be used to wrest the seat of power in Bengal from the Trinamul Congress in the 2021 Assembly polls.
The new list of the office-bearers of the BJP and its various wings included three prominent Trinamul turncoats — Arjun Singh, Saumitra Khan and Sabyasachi Dutta — and Dulal Bor and Khagen Murmu who had switched from the Congress and the CPM, respectively
“Leaders who had joined the BJP from other parties had often complained that they were feeling neglected. The new state committee sends a message that capable leaders from other parties would get prominence in the BJP as well,” said a source in the party.
While Singh is now one of the 12 vice-presidents, Dutta has been made one of the 10 secretaries. Khan has been appointed as the president of the Yuva Morcha. Dulal Bor, a former Congress MLA, was given the charge of Scheduled Caste Morcha, while Malda (North) MP Murmu will look after the party’s Scheduled Tribe unit in North Bengal.
Fashion designer Agnimitra Paul was given the charge of the women’s wing.
Locket Chatterjee, another Trinamul turncoat who became a BJP MP from Hooghly in the last Lok Sabha polls, has been made one of the general secretaries in the state.
Former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh, who was once known for her proximity to Mamata Banerjee, and another CPM defector Mafuja Khatun, who joined the BJP in 2017, were made vice-presidents.
“The leaders may call it a balance between the new and old faces of the party, but there is little doubt that people who came to the BJP after the 2014 general election are getting more prominence in the organisation,” said a source.
The fact that newcomers would get more weightage was getting clear for some time, the source said.
He was referring to Amit Shah’s public appreciation of Mukul Roy’s contribution to the BJP in the 2019 elections.
“The people who have been running the show here need to accept that for the sake of winning the Assembly polls, we need a broad-based organisation, which these leaders are capable of achieving,” said another source.
Dilip Ghosh, party’s state president who was elected for a second term in January this year, said all those leaders had been public representatives for multiple terms. “The decision of including them in the committee is to appreciate their roles in the society,” he said.
“I’m glad that the party has given me a new responsibility. I will try to discharge my duties to the fullest,” Dutta told The Telegraph.
The new committee caused heartburn among a section in the party, who said the list was an indication that the BJP couldn’t expand without help from the turncoats.
Sources in the BJP said the central leadership wanted to put new faces in the key positions of general secretaries. “Two of the existing general secretaries, Pratap Banerjee and Raju Banerjee, have been made vice-presidents. Another general secretary, Sanjay Singh, somehow managed to retain his berth at the last moment though the original plan was to make Singh (Arjun) the general secretary,” said a source.