24 MLAs, MPs did not attend the meet called by the BJP leadership in Kolkata.
New Delhi: Amid the growing deep-rooted disenchantment within the Bengal BJP, the party’s national president J.P. Nadda made a two-day visit to Kolkata earlier this week and held several meetings with the BJP leaders from Bengal, including the MLAs and MPs of the party, trying to tackle the differences and make the party work with unity, keeping in mind the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Several rounds of meeting held by Nadda and the state and other central leadership focused on how the BJP should be able to “stand up” on its own feet and take on the Trinamool Congress government in Bengal, forgetting differences within themselves and working in unity. Like Union Home Minister Amit Shah who visited Bengal last month, Nadda also asked all their leaders from Bengal to hit the streets and to behave like an opposition party in Bengal.
Nadda also asked his party colleagues to focus on booth sashaktikaran which means strengthening of the booth at every block level. He has also tasked the state leadership to hit the streets from 15 June and visit every booth with their respective MLAs and MPs. Booths have been instructed to be categorised into three sections based on the vote percentage and focus on booths that the party lost with a thin margin.
Nadda also asked all his party MLAs to dedicate at least three hours everyday meeting the people from their constituencies and helping the people with whatever possible. However, the meeting of MLAs and MPs which was called by the BJP leadership saw many absentees. According to sources within the BJP, as many as 24 MLAs and MPs together did not attend the meeting that was called by the BJP leadership in Kolkata earlier this week. Some of the absentee MPs includes Kunar Hebram, John Barla, S.S. Ahluwalia, Shantanu Thakur, Locket Chatterjee, among others.
Many of the absentee MLAs and MPs who did attend the meeting in Kolkata said that they would not like to participate in the party affairs unless the state unit rectifies the “core” problem within the party. The “core” problem, according to some of these MLAs and MPs, are the BJP state unit’s functioning, electoral devastation and side-lining of important leaders from the party and giving space to those who had no contribution to the party’s growth in Bengal.
However chief spokesperson of the Bengal BJP, Samik Bhattacharya, told The Sunday Guardian said that all is well within the BJP and that some MLAs and MPs could not attend the meeting because they were either unwell or busy in their respective constituencies. “There is no difference within the BJP. Yes, some MLAs could not come because they were ill and some had informed that they were busy with their work in their respective constituencies and therefore they would not be able to attend the meeting. As far as MPs are concerned, some Ministers could not attend as they were also busy,” Samik Bhattacharya told this newspaper. BJP state vice president Raju Banerjee alleged on Thursday that he was not even invited to the state executive meeting by the state leadership and, therefore, he was unable to attend the meeting. To this, Samik Bhattacharya told this newspaper that there must have been some miscommunication and that he is not aware of this.