Wrong selection of Assembly poll candidates did us in: Bengal BJP workers lash out
A Bengal BJP meeting at the party’s Hastings office here on Monday on how to politically exploit the Calcutta High Court order of a CBI probe into post-poll result violence turned into an open session where ground-level workers aired their pent-up anger against the “wrong” selection of Assembly poll candidates.
BJP’s joint national general secretary (organisation) Shivprakash, state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh, state general secretary (organisation) Amitava Chakraborty, state general secretary Sayantan Basu, vice-president Pratap Banerjee and others were present at the meeting, the first-ever since the party’s poll debacle. The party could win only 77 seats when its biggest names like Amit Shah had predicted over 200 seats.
Sources in the party said the chiefs of several mandals, BJP’s smallest organisational unit, said how unpopular leaders, including Trinamul turncoats, were made candidates without anyone consulting party workers.
“This was the first opportunity to speak to our leaders, which we got since the poll results. We couldn’t let it go,” a party member from the Mathurapur organisational district said. “Many of us told Shivprakashji that we lost in most seats because those fielded were the very people we had campaigned against when they were in Trinamul.”
A mandal chief from Calcutta North Suburban district also had a heated argument with Ghosh. “Dilipda asked the leader why his mandal committee had not been set up. The leader replied that under the current circumstances that wasn’t possible,” a source said, adding that when Ghosh tried to silence the mandal chief, the latter exploded and demanded he be heard first.
Shivprakash handed out an email id and a phone number for party workers to share suggestions on how to “revive the organisation” after the poll debacle. Workers can also share their ideas about upcoming civic and panchayat polls, a BJP leader said.“Our suggestions will be shared with the party’s election board in Delhi, Shivprakashji assured us,” said a leader.
On CBI probe into post-poll result violence, the party has appointed a convener, a co-convener and a lawyer for each of the 39 organisational districts of the party who will get in touch with CBI investigators and inform them about the party’s grievances. “The conveners will provide investigators with all the details they need,” a source present at the meeting said.
Party leaders also pointed out that the revival of the party's organisation in the state was the need of the hour. Thousands of booths remain unmanned by BJP. The post-poll result violence allegedly unleashed by Trinamul goons had affected the organisation further.
Several party workers from Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour, Baruipur East, Calcutta North, Calcutta South and Calcutta North Suburban organisational districts were absent at the meeting. A source from the Mathurapur organisational district said only about 60 of the 112 mandals of the district were represented at the meeting.
“Some mandal presidents have been jailed in trumped-up cases. Some are homeless. Many of them are still scared of being tortured by the ruling party,” the source alleged.
Shivprakash reportedly said: “There are many states in India where either our party or some other has formed a government with about 38 per cent votes. But that didn't happen in Bengal. However, that shouldn't depress us. We have to work to rebuild our organisation for the civic and panchayat polls.”
He also asked the state leadership to draw up a plan to ensure that unlike 2018 the party could field candidates in all panchayats of Bengal. A ward-level committee at each municipality will also be set up with an eye on the civic polls.