NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Amit Shah, during his recent two- day visit to West Bengal, gave a strong message to BJP state office bearers, MPs and MLAs that they should end their “dependence” on the Central government for every issue and instead take to the streets and fight the Trinamool Congress politically and not from inside their living rooms. Shah has also given the additional responsibility of the organisation to Suvendu Adhikari, Leader of the Opposition in the Bengal Assembly, apart from state president Sukanta Mazumdar and has asked strictly to end the internal feud within the party.

Amit Shah also told BJP workers to fight the TMC government in a democratic and political manner and not to run to Delhi to seek the im- position of President’s Rule at the drop of a hat. Shah, according to sources, also told his party workers and office bearers in Bengal that they need to pick up the right issue that affects the people and fight against the TMC government on the streets and not run to the Governor’s House every now and then with the hope that the Central government will intervene with President’s Rule or impose Article 356 of the Constitution.

“An elected government with such a brute majority cannot be thrown out with the help of Article 356. Get it out of your mind that the Central government is going to impose President’s Rule in Bengal. Governments don’t run like this. You all need to forget the fact that there is a BJP government at the Centre, instead take to the streets and fight on local issues. People of Bengal want to see what the BJP can do for them. Do not run to Delhi for every small issue,” Amit Shah told the gathering of BJP office bearers, MPs and MLAs in Kolkata on Friday evening.
Several MLAs and some district presidents had asked Amit Shah during the meeting to ensure that some of the tainted leaders of the TMC who were on the CBI scanner should be arrested, to which Shah apparently said, “CBI is an independent organisation, the government cannot direct the CBI to arrest people because you have political differences with them. Let the organisations do their job independently, you do what you are tasked to do.”

Some BJP leaders also requested Amit Shah as the Home Minister of India to ask the state government (Bengal government) not to politicise the police, especially the IPS and IAS officers. “We have requested the Home Minister to look into this issue that IPS and IAS officers in Bengal are all politicised and work as an extension of the TMC. Since they all come under the Home Ministry, we requested Amit Shahji about this. He said he will look into this,” a BJP leader who told Amit Shah about this issue told this correspondent.

According to senior leaders of the Bengal BJP present in the meeting, Shah also reminded the BJP workers how the current Chief Minister of Bengal and TMC supremeo Mamata Banerjee rose to the present position fighting the CPM for years on the streets of Bengal. Shah apparently also asked the BJP workers to take a cue from Mamata Banerjee’s struggle to overthrow the 34 years of CPM rule. He also reminded them that Mamata Banerjee was beaten up multiple times by the CPM and the police in Bengal; despite that, she did not give up her fight against the CPM. “Learn from her” Shah told his party workers in Bengal.

He also told his party colleagues that just “shouting” violence would not work. “If you get scared because of the violence in Bengal, then BJP can never establish itself. You have to fight against this violence to end it. You can sit at your home locked inside, being scared of the violence, which is no solution. Hit the streets, be by the side of the people. Even I have faced much violence in my life, I have also fought against violence in Gujarat,” Shah apparently told BJP workers in Bengal.

Shah also asked the state unit of the BJP to draw up elaborate plans to revive the party in Bengal. According to sources, Amit Shah said that he was aware that the BJP in Bengal had not been able to stand up on its feet since the last one year, but he also said that it was the responsibility of the state unit of the BJP to make the party stand up. “Amit Shah has given us an elaborate plan to revive the party. He has asked us to rebuild the party from scratch in Bengal. As part of the revival plan, Amit Shah has asked all the district presidents to reach out to every booth worker who was there with the BJP but is no longer associated with the party. He also asked us to make each booth stronger for the party and said that if the booth is strong, the party will automatically become strong,” a senior leader present in the meeting with Amit Shah, told The Sunday Guardian.

The meeting which took place in Kolkata’s Westin Hotel also saw the presence of BJP’s Organisational General Secretary B.L. Santosh and Amit Malviya from the Central BJP unit. B.L. Santosh also gave a strong message to all the leaders from the BJP’s Bengal unit and asked them not to indulge in factionalism within the party. According to sources in the meeting, Santosh and Amit Shah both gave the responsibility to run the Bengal unit to state president Sukanta Mazumdar and Leader of the Opposition, Suvendu Adhikari.

“Both these top leaders have given a very strong message against factionalism. They have clearly told everyone that you have to follow what the organisation is deciding and not what the MLAs or MPs are deciding,” a source present in the meeting said. Another BJP leader who spoke to this correspondent said that B.L. Santosh took to task all the MLAs and district presidents. Santosh said during the meeting that the MLAs and MPs were not above the party; they had to follow the party line.

Santosh also said that the top leadership was aware that some MLAs and MPs were trying to create their own factions and the district presidents were trying to run the party according to their own whims and fancies thus creating divisions within the party. If this did not stop, then strict action would be taken against them. He warned.
Amit Shah also said that the party would need to revive itself keeping in mind the 2024 Lok Sabha polls in the country and tasked the MLAs and MPs to touch base with their voters in their respective constituencies. “The Central government will support you in developmental work, but go to the people, stand by them in times of need. Fight for their rights, only then will people vote for you. I will come again to Bengal very soon and by then I want to see that the BJP in Bengal is stronger,” Shah told the BJP workers while concluding his remarks.