He is in charge of Bengal BJP, which is faction-ridden and is feeling direction-less.
At the time when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is aiming for an ambitious target of winning at least 22 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats from West Bengal, BJP workers in the state are missing their state in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya who is currently busy with the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections slated to be held later this month.
Vijayvargiya, who is currently the sitting MLA from the Mhow constituency in Madhya Pradesh, is busy campaigning for the elections in the state. This time, however, he is not contesting the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, but his son Akash Vijayvargiya is a candidate from the Indore 3 constituency where Vijayvargiya is spending his time to campaign for his son.
A BJP functionary from West Bengal said, “Kailashji is campaigning for Madhya Pradesh elections as he belongs to that state and he has been quite busy there. This time, his son is also one of the candidates; so he would be campaigning even for him. Bengal needs much more attention from the Centre as the leadership here is marred with factionalism. We will not be able to achieve the target of seats given by national president Amit Shah if greater attention is not paid to the state.”
According to sources in the BJP, Kailash Vijayvargiya, who is not contesting on an MLA ticket this time, is likely to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Indore in Madhya Pradesh, replacing Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
Another senior BJP functionary from Bengal told this correspondent on the condition of anonymity: “The BJP in Bengal is going to take out a rathyatra which would be one of the biggest campaigns of the party in the state. At a time when preparations and coordination are at their peak, the state in-charge is missing from the ground. He would become more busy during the Lok Sabha elections since he could contest elections from Indore, having little time for West Bengal. The BJP has a fertile ground in the state; only if it is cultivated properly would the results be good.”
Kailash Vijayvargiya was appointed as the state in-charge for West Bengal in July 2015, replacing Siddharth Nath Singh with the hope that the party would be able to make a huge impact in the 2016 Assembly elections held in the state, given his success in Haryana where he was the state in-charge prior to his appointment in Bengal.
However, the party could not make any massive dent into the Trinamool Congress vote bank in the state in the last three years. Even when the BJP has positioned itself as the number two party in the state, the difference in the number of votes between the ruling TMC and BJP still remains large.
Arvind Menon, who was appointed co-observer for West Bengal earlier this year, almost seems to be absent from the Bengal BJP political scenario.
Most BJP workers from Bengal do not even know that Menon has been appointed to the post. Incidentally, Menon and Kailash Vijayvargiya are known to be not in good terms with each other, ever since Menon declared that he did not want Vijayvargiya to become the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh some years ago.
As a result of this, many party leaders from Bengal are expressing their concern about the lack of coordination among the state-in-charges as well as “deep rooted” factionalism within the state unit of the BJP which is causing further damage to the party in the state.
“The new co-observer is hardly known to anybody in the state and everyone in the party knows about Kailashji and Menon’s differences. In such a situation, it is difficult for the two of them to work together. Factionalism is also a huge problem within the BJP in the state and the Centre has failed to address this issue. Unless we have somebody strong from the Centre to address these issues, the prospects seem very poor for the party,” added the senior party functionary quoted earlier.