BJP workers disgruntled with the party for giving tickets to turncoats, particularly from Trinamul, have now joined its political parent, the Bharatiya Jana Sangh.
These dissidents are gearing up to contest in at least eight of the 12 Assembly seats of Malda “to teach a lesson to the BJP’s official candidates”.
Sanjit Mishra, former district BJP president, is the new district president of Jana Sangh, said sources.
“The Jana Sangh had merged with the Janata Party in 1977 and L.K. Advani was its last president. A few years ago, Jana Sangh was revived by Subrata Mukherjee, the great-grandson of Syama Prasad Mookerjee. Being true BJP supporters, we joined the Jana Sangh,” said Mishra on Tuesday.
He said they spoke to BJP leaders who felt cornered by defectors. Jana Sangh will field candidates from eight seats under the “diya” (traditional oil lamp) symbol, originally that of the Jana Sangh.
This sudden political development in Malda, a district with a minority population of around 55 per cent, has come as a fresh poser for BJP, said political observers.
“In Malda, the BJP is trying to polarise votes by focussing on seats where the minority populace is fewer. If Jana Sangh, with a similar ideology as that of the BJP, fields candidates, BJP votes may split and help its rivals,” said an observer.
The BJP leadership sounded unperturbed.
“Voters know well that the battle is between the BJP and Trinamul. They are keen to put an end to Trinamul’s misrule. Hence, they will not waste votes to support a party that has no chance of winning any seat of Malda,” district BJP chief Gobinda Chandra Mandal said.