Rumours doing the rounds inside BJP circles that many of its 77 MLAs and 18 MPs in West Bengal are reportedly in touch with the Trinamool Congress leadership, looking for ways to defect, are creating a strong sense of disquiet within the party, which many feel may be hard to negotiate.
Moreover, a sense of discontent among some party hardliners in accepting the newcomers in the saffron camp, especially after the BJP’s way below par show in the recently concluded Assembly elections, is only adding fuel to such speculation.
The buzz grew stronger when BJP’s Krishnanagar North MLA and national vice-president Mukul Roy decided to stay away from the first meeting of the BJP’s legislative body in the Assembly on Friday, where it was decided that the party would boycott the Assembly proceedings until post-poll violence stops completely in the state.
Though state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh maintained that “Mukul-da had to rush back to Krishnanagar, as cases of violence against our workers were reported from there”, some party insiders believe that it was an effort on Roy’s part to distance himself from the party proceedings following his decreasing importance in the BJP with regard to forming poll strategy during the just-concluded Assembly polls in the state.
Roy, who won his first election this time after switching over to the BJP from the Trinamool in 2017 when he was unofficially the No 2 in the party after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, was instrumental in BJP’s success in the 2018 panchayat polls and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
“Mukul-da isn’t happy with the party. He had been issuing vital warnings, identifying crucial inflection points, but his advice has been overlooked,” a senior party leader said.
However, former Meghalaya and Tripura Governor and senior Bengal BJP leader Tathagata Roy, who is always considered to be a hardliner in the party, didn’t sound quite surprised and rather blamed state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh and the party’s state in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya for the party’s defeat in the Assembly elections.
Hitting out at the two leaders, Roy said their poor decisions, especially in selection of candidates, were responsible for BJP’s poll debacle in Bengal.
“The Kailash-Dilip-Shiv-Arvind foursome has dragged names of our respected Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and Home Minister (Amit Shah) through mud and have sullied the name of the biggest political party in the world. Sitting atop Agarwal Bhavan of Hastings (Bengal BJP’s election headquarters) and 7-star hotels, they have distributed tickets to incoming garbage from Trinamool Congress,” Roy tweeted.
He added that now that these leaders are “faced with abuse from party workers”, they are hoping that the storm will blow over.
Though the party leadership denied commenting on Roy’s tweet, BJP spokesperson and state vice-president Joy Prakash Majumdar said, “We need a proper introspection to find out the reasons behind our defeat. It is perhaps because we couldn’t reach out to the people and make them understand the benefits of our schemes.”
The top party leadership is also concerned about the brewing disquiet in the party and so, perhaps, party insiders admitted that Dilip Ghosh has asked the national leaders to let the local leaders handle the problems.
Though Ghosh seemed to be ready to make a comment, he avoided by terming it as an ‘internal matter’, but his close aides confirmed that he is trying to strike a balance between the old hardliners and the newcomers in the party, but how far he will be successful only time will tell.