New Delhi: After the BJP faced a massive drubbing at the recently concluded Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) elections held earlier last week, BJP national president J.P. Nadda is slated to visit Kolkata in the first week to January to take stock of the party in Bengal.
BJP sources say that the national president of the party is visiting Kolkata after massive reports of infighting, lack of decision making and lobbying has become rampant within the state unit of the party, which many insiders believe as one of the many reasons for the poor show of the BJP in the elections.
Sources close to the Central BJP leadership have also said that the party at the Centre has received reports about how a large section of the BJP leadership did not campaign for the Kolkata Municipal Corporation till the eleventh hour and only after the Central leadership intervened that some senior ministers like Smriti Irani and others were sent to manage the situation in Bengal.
Many in the Bengal unit of the BJP also complained about how the newly appointed president Sukanta Mazumdar delayed forming his new state committee which had kept many leaders on the hook and therefore forcing them to stay away from the campaign.
Sukanata Mazumdar announced the new state organisational committee only on Wednesday, just a day after the KMC election results were declared. BJP leaders like Roopa Ganguly have openly criticised the Bengal unit of the BJP with regards to the ticket distribution and have alleged that “money had been taken to distribute tickets” for the KMC elections. She has also alleged that the election management committee that was formed to manage the KMC elections was a mere formality as most of the decisions were taken by “four” people of the Bengal BJP.
Other BJP leaders have been speaking off the record on how bad and lackadaisical the Bengal BJP unit has become ever since they faced defeat in the Assembly elections held in the State in May this year. A senior Bengal BJP leader who did not wish to be named told this correspondent said that most of the leaders in the Bengal BJP does not want the BJP to come to power nor do they want to make the party powerful in Bengal, all that they want is a position in the party so that they can enjoy their time sitting in the opposition.
“It had been almost three months since Sukanata Mazumdar had become the president of the party in Bengal; he could have created his team within a month and put them to work soon after that and could put a tough fight against the TMC, but what he did was waited till the KMC elections was over. In the meantime, what happened was that many state committee members who got the hint that they would be removed stopped working and rather started creating a lobby for themselves for their betterment in the party. This is not how elections are fought and won,” the senior BJP leader said.
This BJP leader has also complained about how BJP’s organisational districts are marred with “corruption”, some sort of settlements with the local TMC leaders and he said that unless district organisations are not revamped and strong and influential leaders put to man the districts, the BJP will face the same fate in almost all the municipal elections due in the state.
Another BJP leader said that former BJP president of Bengal Dilip Ghosh, Leader of Opposition in the Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari, present party president Sukanta Mazumdar and Bengal BJP’s organisational secretary Amitava Chakraborty are all trying to assert their influence individually in the party and this has created a massive lobbying in the Bengal unit.
Not only this, every Member of Parliament of the BJP is also trying to assert their influence in the state unit and when they are not heard, they start creating their own faction, the BJP leader said.
Among all this, the BJP managed to bag only 3 seats out of the 144 seats in the Kolkata Municipal Corporation with over 60% of the BJP candidates having to lose their deposit in the election. According to State Election Commission data, the BJP managed to get just about 9% of the total votes polled in the KMC election coming third to the Left front which bagged about 11%, coming second to the TMC in this election.
This result came just months after the West Bengal assembly elections where the BJP had got 40% vote share. Now contrast this with the 2015 KMC elections, the BJP had then bagged five seats with over 15% vote share, while the TMC which had got 134 seats had got 124 seats in 2015.
However, BJP party functionaries in Delhi tracking the developments in Bengal said that J.P. Nadda is visiting Bengal in January to give some strict instructions to the party leadership in the state.
Sources also say that Nadda would hold multiple meetings with the state leadership as well as the district leadership keeping in mind the upcoming municipal polls across the state. The BJP functionary also said that Nadda will hold meetings with Suvendu Adhikari and Sukanta Mazumdar separately to understand the problems that the state unit is facing and what could be done to strengthen the party in Bengal.