Controlling differences and infighting among party leaders in state units is turning out to be a major challenge for the BJP.
Months before a series of Assembly polls, sources said that the party’s central leaders are trying hard to control the situation in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, and Punjab as well as in Karnataka, West Bengal, and Rajasthan at the earliest.
A party insider said that differences in more than half a dozen state units have come to the notice of the central leadership and they are looking into resolving these.
“Senior national leaders have been trying to resolve the differences within the party unit in these states. Local issues must be addressed so that everyone should put a united effort in fighting the opposition parties instead of fighting against each other,” he said.
Another saffron party leader said that this infighting and differences among senior leaders in local units is weakening the party, especially in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, and Punjab and needs to be addressed at the earliest as it might affect the party’s poll prospects.
He also pointed out that differences in other states also do not send a good message among people.
A senior leader told IANS that the aspirations of leaders is a major reason for the differences.
“With growth and expansion of the party across the country, everyone is aspiring for the top post in the state in party or government and in this, they sometime raise their voices against the existing leadership. In some cases, their concerns are genuine, but in most cases, it was their aspiration,” the leader said.
Witnessing strong resentment and dissidence within the Karnataka unit, the BJP central leadership is likely to replace Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa.
Many BJP MLAs have openly spoken against Yediyurappa despite warnings of disciplinary action by the leadership.
In Uttar Pradesh, voices were raised against Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, but for time being, they were silenced after the intervention of BJP central leadership and the RSS.
“Last month, Chief Minister Adityanath and Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya met over lunch in presence of national General Secretary, Organisation, B.L. Santhosh, RSS General Secretary Dattatreya Hosabale and RSS leader Krishna Gopal to resolve the differences,” a party insider said.
Uttarakhand, where elections are also scheduled early next year, witnessed three Chief Ministers in five months.
In March, the BJP leadership replaced Trivendra Singh Rawat with Tirath Singh Rawat, a Lok Sabha member. However, unable to get him elected to the Assembly, the BJP replaced him with Pushkar Singh Dhami.
In March, the BJP also appointed Madan Kaushik as new state chief.
A party leader from Uttarakhand said: “More than factionalism, changing Chief Ministers frequently in election years sends a wrong signal among voters. During his four months tenure, Tirath Singh Rawat did not address the concern of party cadre which turned out to be reason for replacement of Trivendra Singh.”
In Goa, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Health Minister Vishwajit Rane are not on the same page and their differences came out during the peak of the second wave of Covid. It is learnt that BJP chief Nadda had asked them to keep their differences aside and work together.
A party leader from Goa said that Rane is “quite ambitious” and feels he also deserves a chance. “Vishwajit Rane is the son of a former Chief Minister (Pratapsingh Rane) and he feels he has the capabilities,” he said.
BJP national General Secretary and Goa in-charge, C. T. Ravi, however, denied any differences in the state unit and said everyone is working together to ensure development of the state, and winning next year’s Assembly polls.
In Tripura, voices were also being raised within the party and to silence these, the BJP central leadership has allowed a likely reshuffle in the Biplab Deb government.
A senior party leader, however, denied any voice of dissent in the Tripura unit and there are some grievances of some leaders which will be addressed accordingly. Amid this, Santosh and others recently visited Agartala to discuss party affairs with the state leaders, legislators, ministers and other party functionaries.
Earlier this month, West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh met Nadda and apprised him about the leaders not following the party line. After the Assembly polls, several leaders including former Union Minister Babul Supriyo raised voice against state leadership.
“I have apprised Nadda ji about the affairs of the party’s West Bengal unit and now he has to take a call,” he had said.
In Rajasthan, former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje is also not on the same page with the state leadership, which recently expelled her supporter, former minister Rohitashav Sharma, for “anti-party activity”.
In Punjab, taking serious note of ongoing infighting in the party ahead of next year’s assembly polls, the state unit has expelled former minister Anil Joshi for raising voice against leadership.