At a time when panchayat elections in West Bengal are near, the growing clash of personalities within the Bharatiya Janata Party’s senior leadership in the state is making the party’s cadre at the ground level confused about their own leadership.
The Bengal unit of the BJP, which got some fresh air after the party’s massive victory in Tripura, has not yet been able to do much preparation for the panchayat elections due in the next two months.
Recently, differences between Roopa Ganguly, BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP from Bengal, and the party’s state president Dilip Ghosh were out in the open when Ganguly tweeted, expressing her displeasure with Ghosh, taking many by surprise. Not only this, some leaders of the old guard of the BJP in multiple districts across Bengal have not yet been able to fully accept the arrival of several Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders into the BJP fold, and are therefore resisting their activities, causing much damage to the party’s poll preparations and prospects in Bengal. A BJP functionary from Bengal told The Sunday Guardian, “There are clear differences between the old guard of the party and the new entrants and this phenomenon is being observed in the party across the state. The old guard wants to hold on to their positions of decision making and power and this is making leaders with much experience who have come from the TMC, or for that matter, any other party, unhappy. If we are not able to solve this problem at the top level, it would become difficult for us to put up a good performance in the panchayat elections in the state.”
Some have also pointed out that the entry of Mukul Roy into the BJP from the ruling TMC last year has caused heartburn among some top leaders of the BJP and this has been evident on several occasions.
Another BJP leader, who did not wish to be named, told this correspondent, “The entry of Mukul Roy into the party fold did make some leaders unhappy as they thought that their importance in the party would weaken. But one has to understand that Mukul Roy is an experienced politician who has won several elections when he was in TMC. He is also known as the ‘Chanakya of Bengal politics’ and if his advice is not taken seriously, it is the party that would be losing.”
The Central leadership of the BJP has also been apprised of the clash of personalities within the Bengal unit of the BJP, and, according to sources, the leadership in Delhi is looking at the grievances closely. Some of the leaders holding important positions in the Bengal unit of the BJP could also be replaced if they fail to maintain harmony and unity within the party. “Leaders will have to put away all their personal differences and make the BJP rise as a force that can take on the Mamata Banerjee government in the state. The district leadership also needs to keep their cadres motivated and not let them get involved in factionalism. No matter who has come from where, the fact is that we are all from the same party now; therefore, we should work together and in harmony,” the BJP leader added.