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Third MLA moves out worsening BJP’s stance in WB

| Updated: September 1, 2021 19:14

As yet another MLA leaves the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and joins the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), it seems unlikely that a resolution is in the near future for the party’s internal feud in West Bengal. Many predict that the saffron party is on the verge of extinction.

Bagdah MLA, Biswajit Das was the new exit from the saffron party to have joined TMC. Prior to him, it was Mukul Roy, MLA from Krishnangar and Tanmoy Ghosh, MLA from Bishnupur who jumped the line to rejoin Didi’s party after its undefeated victory in the 2021 assembly polls.

With the exit of Das, the BJP’s functional tally in the assembly has been reduced to 72 from 77. The two-time MLA from TMC, Das had moved into the saffron party in 2019. He won from Bagdah on a BJP ticket in the 2021 assembly polls.

With his exit, Das said, “I never felt very comfortable in the BJP. Returning to the TMC was long overdue. The BJP has done nothing for Bengal.” Das also added that there were differences within the BJP and his attempts to resolve them only fell on deaf ears.

Biswajit Das (second from left), during his induction in BJP

The BJP party had already suffered a blow when the former Union Minister and MP Babul Supriyo had decided to “quit politics”.

Nisith Pramanik, who is now a Union minister, had contested from the Dinhata assembly constituency and was elected. But upon instruction from the party high command, he resigned as an MLA and continued as an MP. Similarly, Jagannath Sarkar, BJP MP from Ranaghat also contested an assembly constituency and won, but he did not take the oath of office.

However, hearsay has it that Das is not the last to exit BJP. It is informed that seven BJP MLAs were absent from an internal party meeting of North Bengal leaders, on Wednesday. The leaders who were absent were Gopal Saha, Vivekananda Bauri, Satyendranath Roy, Manoj Orao, Ashok Lahiri, Dibakar Ghorami and Jewel Murmu.

The saffron party kept afloat after tasting success in the 2019 assembly elections – when it won 18 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats. But they haven’t overcome the setback suffered in the 2021 assembly elections. They did hope and try to challenge Mamata Banerjee if not defeat her, but ended up with less than 80 seats in the 294-member house.

‘Weary’ with the party

A certain section of the senior BJP leaders opine that people switching from BJP to TMC before the assembly elections are because they are wary of the party’s ability to function, thanks to the continuous and unresolved internal feud and intense lobbying by various factions.

Few BJP leaders also claim that they were allegedly not permitted to work in their own constituency and another faction shouts out loud that they were not involved in the various party works.

All of this has only intensified the internal feuds and has forced many to either ‘quit’ politics or return to TMC.

On conditions of anonymity, a senior BJP leader said, “We expected more support from the central leadership, but we are not encouraged to express our issues to the high command. We also worked on a different plan and strategy for the campaign, but the state leadership refused to listen and went about doing it their own way.”

The disgruntled leader also added that central leadership kept a blindfold to the problems faced by workers who were attacked in post-poll violence.

Another faction of the sources in WB claims that actors who joined the BJP before the assembly polls might also resign. With no responsibilities to shoulder, they refuse to remain just ‘showstoppers’.

One of the actors who recently joined BJP was Rimjhim Mitra. Although Mitra did not get any ticket, to contest the assembly election, she was looking forward to taking up other responsibilities within the party. “I have been sidelined without any responsibilities. I have not yet quit the BJP, but I have expressed my displeasure to the leadership,” she said.

However, the state BJP president Dilip Ghosh refused allegations of a feud within the party. He claimed that people are leaving the party of their own free will. He said the party gave enough space for everybody to present their views.

On Das’s return to TMC, Partha Chatterjee, the TMC leader and state industry minister, said, “Those now joining the TMC are done and dusted with the internal feud inside the BJP. Another reason is disrespect. People, therefore, are either leaving politics or joining other parties.”

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