Bharatiya Janata Party leaders from West Bengal have complained to the central leadership of the party about the “understanding” that some senior state leaders have with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Trinamool Congress (TMC). This, they have said, has been affecting the work of the party in the state, said highly placed sources in the Bengal unit of the BJP. Sources added that some leaders who met BJP national president Amit Shah during his two-day visit to Bengal have apprised him of this “understanding” with the ruling party in the state.
A senior BJP leader from the state, who did not wish to be named, told this correspondent, “Even some of the top leaders sitting in Delhi from our own party are hurting the prospects of the BJP in West Bengal. A tacit understanding has been arrived at by some state leaders holding senior positions in the party with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. This, in turn, has been acting as an impediment to the growth and expansion of the BJP in several districts of Bengal.”
The leader further said that the “nexus” between some BJP and TMC leaders has inflicted a lot of damage to the party. “It is not only with Mamata Banerjee, but some leaders also share a cosy relationship with Abhishek Banerjee, who is Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and a Lok Sabha member. This issue has been brought to the notice of BJP national president Amit Shah and he has assured us that he would look into this matter.”
This comes at a time when the BJP is looking to gain a significant number of seats from the state in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. Shah, who was in Purulia last week, said that he and his party was looking to get some 22 seats out of the total 42 seats to the Lok Sabha from the state.
The BJP has also been gaining significant vote shares in the state, and this has been evident from the several byelections that have been held and the recently concluded panchayat elections where the party stood second.
Highly placed sources in the West Bengal unit of the BJP also said that state leaders were unhappy with some senior ministers in the Central government for “going soft” on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and on her party members who are being probed for several scams.
A source close to the BJP state leadership also said: “While on the one hand, BJP workers and leaders are being killed and jailed in Bengal, where democracy is at its nadir, there are some Central ministers who continue to have an understanding with the Chief Minister. This has emboldened the TMC and its leaders in the state to take on the BJP aggressively. If this continues, the situation of the party in the state will not improve and, in fact, several members will leave the party.”