New Delhi: Assembly election in West Bengal, though at least nine months away, have led to infighting between various state leaders of the BJP as each of them is trying to establish his supremacy on the ground to seek maximum tickets for his or her supporters and build a stronger claim for the chair of Chief Minister.
The difference of opinion among the state leaders has increased to such an extent that former party president Amit Shah is now himself handling the situation. The tension between the state leaders has increased significantly in the last few months as reports coming from multiple sources have stated that the BJP was in a position to form the government in the state with anti-incumbency against the Mamata Banerjee government, popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and polarisation on the ground playing out in favour of the BJP.
From state president Dilip Ghosh to Mukul Roy to Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta, every significant face of West Bengal BJP is right now engaged in focusing on how to strengthen their position and that of their supporters before the elections.
Party leaders aware of the ground situation on the ground said that the difference of opinion between Ghosh and Roy was not a secret anymore and multiple complaints by supporters of both the sides against each other have been reaching 6-A, Deen Dayal Upadhayay Marg office of the BJP. Several MPs, who have come from the TMC to the BJP ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, have expressed their displeasure with the style of functioning of Ghosh.
Some MPs have told the people at BJP headquarters that Ghosh uses “blunt language” in the media which damages the image of the party. Many have even called for replacing Ghosh ahead of the 2021 elections as a necessary step if the BJP wanted to win the elections. According to a party strategist, the Roy camp was not happy with what they believe has been the “under-valuing” of his skills by the BJP. “Since the Cabinet reshuffle is around the corner, the Roy camp is making the right kind of noise to gain the party’s attention and seek a place for him in the Cabinet,” he said.
The functionary further added that the BJP leadership might be tempted to offer Roy a Cabinet post to pull him out of the state so that the infighting is controlled. Shah had summoned Mukul Roy to Delhi last week and a meeting was supposed to take place, but because of Shah being diagnosed with Covid-19, the meeting has been postponed.
“A Rajya Sabha MP, too, is not too comfortable with Ghosh and he, along with Roy, wants a more affable man to head BJP in West Bengal. The party will have to take a call on the perception that will be created if Ghosh is changed right now and someone else is brought to replace him,” another party leader said.
Ghosh supporters, on the other hand, have told the party leadership that most of the MPs and other state leaders were with Ghosh and only those, who were keeping personal ambitions above the party’s interest, were sulking with Ghosh.
Some of the prominent leaders who have expressed their support for Ghosh include Union minister Debasree Chaudhary and MP Locket Chatterjee who are seen as the future leaders of the party in the state.
The national leadership is still undecided on whether to give a CM face or not, with suggestions for fighting the elections with a CM face coming from various state leaders.
“As per the party’s tradition, no CM face is given and the decision takes place after the results are announced. However, that might change in West Bengal as there is a feeling among prominent leaders of the state that we need to give a face to the voters in view of the strong personality of Mamata Banerjee,” the leader added. In an interview to The Sunday Guardian, party MP from Barrackpore, Arjun Singh, too, has stated that a presence of a CM face will help the BJP.