A large number of BJP leaders from Bengal are upset over the “indiscriminate” joining of Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders into the BJP just ahead of the crucial 2021 Assembly elections in Bengal.
The Sunday Guardian reached out to multiple district level and mid-level BJP leaders from Bengal and almost all them said that the BJP leadership should carefully induct leaders from the TMC since most of them are coming to “enjoy their continued power” into this party, knowing that the TMC is “unlikely to win” the elections next year.
One such district level BJP leader told The Sunday Guardian, “It seems that our party is being unfair to many of our workers by inducting TMC leaders. These TMC leaders who are currently making a beeline to join the BJP now, are the same leaders who were attacking the BJP and the Prime Minister just months back. They are willing to come to the BJP fold now because they know that the TMC will not remain in power in the coming days and they don’t want to lose the power they were enjoying, once their party goes out of power.”
Another BJP district leader from Durgapur said that they are not willing to accept these TMC leaders who had beaten them up just days ago.
“We will not accept anyone who has beaten us up, into the BJP. TMC leaders had beaten us up, they had made us leave our houses for months and now they are trying to be friends with us, knowing that the TMC is not going to come to power. We will not accept them in the party, we cannot work with such goons. Let the senior leaders make them join, we will not accept them on the ground. The BJP is strong enough here to take on the TMC with their own leaders,” the BJP leader from Durgapur said.
Durgapur also witnessed an open clash between BJP leaders on the day state president Dilip Ghosh was to address a rally earlier this week and according to local BJP leaders in Durgapur, the clashes broke out between two factions of the BJP over the induction of a few TMC leaders into BJP. While one faction wanted them to join the BJP, the other protested against it.
Some resentment among BJP workers was also witnessed in Alipurduar over the induction of former TMC MP Dashrath Tirkey.
Even in North 24 Parganas district, multiple district level leaders have made deputations to the state leadership, requesting them not to induct “corrupt goons” of the TMC into the BJP. Posters were also seen in parts of North 24 Parganas, saying that local BJP leaders will not accept “goons” of the TMC who are wanting to get themselves registered in the BJP now.
One BJP leader from North 24 Parganas district told this correspondent, “If the party starts inducting TMC leaders who are mired in corruption and who are known for tolabazi, the people will not vote for BJP. What will we go and tell the people, why have we taken people who have been the cause of their misery? We are looking to provide alternate power; we cannot do that by having the same people in power who have taken the people of this state for granted.”
Protests were also witnessed in Asansol when it was almost decided that Jitendra Tiwari, a heavyweight TMC leader from Asansol, was to join the BJP.
Local BJP leaders from Asansol had vehemently protested against his induction into the BJP and even Asansol MP and sitting Union Minister Babul Supriyo expressed his displeasure over the induction of Jitender Tiwari into the party.
Local BJP leaders from Asansol say that Jitendra Tiwari was the one who had unleashed violence on them during the Lok Sabha elections last year and now they are not ready to work with him. Other state level leaders like Sayantan Basu and Bengal BJP Mahila Morcha President Agnimitra Paul also expressed their displeasure over the induction of “corrupt” TMC leaders into the party.
However, senior party leaders of the BJP have sent show-cause notices to these leaders, saying that their public stand against the party decision is being seen as anti-party activity and that they should explain why no action should be taken against them.
Sayantan Basu, general secretary of Bengal BJP who was show-caused by the party earlier this week, told The Sunday Guardian that these differences are not major issues and that in a big family like that of the BJP, such things do happen but will be settled.
Speaking on his show-cause notice, Basu said, “It is not an issue. The party wanted to know from us certain things and we have let the party know. The party can always ask questions and we are the loyal soldiers of the party; we cannot do anything beyond the party.”
However, reacting to reports of “unhappiness” and “displeasure” among several BJP workers over the induction of TMC leaders into the BJP, state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said, “It is true that there is unhappiness among some of our workers because they had faced the wrath of these TMC leaders at one time. Some of our workers have personal problems with many of the TMC leaders who are joining us now; they have expressed their unhappiness to the party and we are taking everything into consideration. Having said that, let me tell you that we have earlier too inducted a lot of members and leaders of the TMC into the BJP and this has happened not only in Bengal, but in other states also, where the BJP has taken leaders from other parties. Now you see many who had come from TMC to BJP are doing good work and are leading the party. In the coming days also, many people will join the BJP and this is how the party has increased its presence everywhere. We will also have to be willing to accept them, or else how will the party grow, how will we win and form government?”