Seeds of discontent in Bengal BJP as turncoats join saffron fold

By Soudhriti Bhabani
Kolkata, Dec 24 (IANS)
The fight between the old and new members of West Bengals Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has intensified as the high-voltage Assembly elections scheduled in 2021 draws closer.
In a measured tactical move, the party has apparently sent out a clear signal to a section of BJP state leadership about their outrageous comments on the social media. Recently, it has sent show-cause notices to two prominent BJP West Bengal unit leaders – Sayantan Basu and Agnimitra Paul – for allegedly making gross anti-party statements.
While Basu is the sitting general secretary of BJP in Bengal, Paul heads the women’s arm of the party, Mahila Morcha, in the state.
The show-cause notice came a few days after Trinamool Congress heavyweight and former state Transport and Irrigation Minister Suvendu Adhikari joined the saffron brigade in presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah at a grand rally in West Midnapore last week.
With more and more political turncoats joining the state BJP from other parties, including Trinamool Congress, Congress and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the situation has turned into a veritable mishmash with seeds of discontent arising within the party.
The BJP has also clipped the wings of both Basu and Paul for their random media bytes to TV channels which constituted derogatory and anti-party statements reflecting severe anti-organisation sentiments. Some of their remarks went directly against certain decisions taken by the party, BJP sources said.
Both Basu and Paul, however, refused to comment on the issue dubbing it an internal matter of the BJP. Sources said that Basu reportedly apologised for his comments and sent a written reply to the party leadership in Delhi. BJP state unit President Dilip Ghosh said: “Their statements to the media are against the discipline of the party and they have been cautioned for that.”
On Monday, BJP MP from Bankura’s Bishnupur Lok Sabha constituency Soumitra Khan’s wife Sujata Mondal Khan had joined Trinamool Congress and she blasted at the BJP leadership for wooing TMC leaders with plum posts.
“I shed sweat and blood for the party in its tough time but never got rewarded for that. Now the opportunists and fence-sitters from different parties are being welcomed in the BJP with prime positions,” Sujata had told media persons at a press conference.
The discontent among the BJP workers became visible as mild clashes took place between the old party workers and newcomers in West Midnapore and Durgapur town this week with posters and banners opposing the decision of welcoming rebel Trinamool leaders were seen in many places.
BJP sources said a ruckus also took place in Durgapur on Tuesday while Trinamool supporters were scheduled to join the BJP in presence of the party state president Dilip Ghosh. The warring groups attacked each other with plastic chairs and engaged in a scuffle. A similar incident had also taken place at Narayangarh in West Midnapore district.
Recently, Asansol BJP MP and Union Minister Babul Supriyo had taken a public stance against Asansol Trinamool leader and Pandabeswar MLA Jitendra Tewari making it public on social media.
Supriyo became vocal protesting the possible entry of Tiwari in BJP. As a result, the outgoing Asansol mayor reportedly abandoned the decision and took a complete U-turn. He stayed back in the Trinamool Congress. The show-cause notice of Basu and Paul was viewed as an indirect message to Supriyo, a party insider said.

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