‘BJP’s Chanakyas mismanaged the Bengal exercise

‘It’s a basic battle between the outdated and the new BJP. The new BJP is made up of turncoats and the outdated of veterans who slogged for many years when the BJP barely existed in West Bengal’

IMAGE: BJP chief Amit Shah campaigns for Suvendu Adhikari, the BJP’s nominee from Nandigram and former TMC heavyweight. Photograph: @AmitShah/Twitter

Economist and psephologist Ashok Lahiri presumably obtained his first style of realpolitik after he was dropped as a candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the West Bengal meeting elections from Alipurduar underneath duress.

Lahiri was moved to Balurghat.

Suman Kanjilal, the BJP’s Alipurduar district secretary, wrested the nomination after main protests in opposition to Lahiri.

The fracas over Lahiri’s candidacy was not an exception.

The BJP confronted stiff opposition over its selection of candidates in lots of locations, casting doubts over the management’s choice to induct defectors from the Trinamool Congress and the Communist Party of India- Marxist in giant numbers and “rewarding” them with tickets, as an alternative of its native representatives.

“It’s a classic conflict between the old and the new BJP. The new BJP is made up of turncoats and the old of veterans who slogged for decades when the BJP barely existed in West Bengal,” a Kolkata-based political observer remarked.


The commentary was refuted by a BJP insider who argued: “There’s nothing like the old BJP. We had a marginal presence here and there. It’s a myth to claim we were always a force in West Bengal. We need the so-called outsiders to replenish our ranks.”

While Lahiri’s episode is the stuff of the BJP’s electoral lore, many different critical incidents marred the get together’s last-mile connectivity.

Two “nominees”, Shikha Mitra and Tarun Saha, had been stunned when the BJP introduced their names from Chowringhee and Kashipur-Belgachia, respectively.

Mitra is the spouse of the late Congress chief, Somen Mitra, and Saha, the husband of Mala Saha, the TMC’s sitting legislator from Kashipur-Belgachia.

Both denied becoming a member of the BJP or being approached by its leaders earlier than their names had been declared.

The political grapevine had it that Mitra’s current assembly with Suvendu Adhikari, the BJP’s nominee from Nandigram and former TMC heavyweight, set off the hypothesis that she was “eager” to battle the polls.

Adhikari is a household buddy of the Mitras.

“May be she came under the Congress’s pressure,” a BJP supply mentioned.

Mala Saha received from Kashipur-Belgachia in 2011 and 2016, however the TMC denied her a ticket this time and fielded Atin Ghosh, Kolkata deputy mayor.

“Perhaps the BJP approached her after this. She might have proposed her husband’s name instead of herself and then backed off,” the BJP supply mentioned.

In North Dinajpur, an area chief, Madan Biswas, who heads the BJP’s district OBC wing and is a businessman, alleged that Debasree Chaudhuri, Raiganj MP and central minister, had “worked against” him after promising a ticket in lieu of spending cash on sociopolitical actions, together with organising “extravagant pujas”.

The ticket went to Krishna Kalyani, a TMC turncoat.

The BJP’s clarification was Biswas spent cash “voluntarily” like several businessman and he was by no means promised a ticket.

Chaudhuri was quoted saying the BJP had objected to Biswas plastering North Dinajpur along with his personal posters whereas he was by no means in the reckoning.

When TMC renegade Ranjan Baidya was fielded from Sonarpur (South 24 Parganas), the protests reached the BJP’s Kolkata headquarter the place posters alleging that Biswas misappropriated funds as a district zila parishad member surfaced.

The BJP management was unmoved.

“Ours is a disciplined party. Our message to the protesters was if you wish to remain with us, be disciplined, otherwise you are free to quit,” confused Kailash Vijayvargiya, basic secretary minding West Bengal.

Barring Alipurduar, the BJP reportedly has to this point not yielded to regional strain.

“Nation first, party second, and self last,” was Dilip Ghosh, state BJP president’s commandment to the cadre.

A senior state BJP chief’s clarification for the flap over the nominations was: “There are 294 seats but TV is focussed 24×7 on five or six areas, showing groups of 25 or 30 shouting and screaming. All this is gone. A party perceived to be winning witnesses this sort of thing. If a party is not a potential winner, things are quiet on its front. Nearly 95 per cent people want the polls to go on. The rabble-rousers are just 5 per cent.”

A supply, nevertheless, admitted that Vijayvargiya and Arvind Menon and Shiv Prakash, the sah prabharis (co-minders), needed to intercede and maintain lengthy conferences with the dissidents earlier than the scenario was quelled.

“There was cadre resistance against the nomination of celebrities, film stars, and sportspersons because they are seen as fair weather friends. We told our workers we need them to enhance the BJP’s profile and make it socially acceptable,” the supply mentioned.

Kishor Burman, state joint basic secretary (organisation), who’s taking care of north Bengal, claimed: “Our workers are now looking at the lotus (the BJP’s symbol), the party flag and (Narendra) Modi. The candidates are of secondary importance.”

However, a political observer identified that the outcry in opposition to a few of the nominations couldn’t be “ignored”.

“The BJP’s Chanakyas mismanaged the exercise. There was no due diligence on whether a candidate’s name was on the voters’ list or not, or whether a presidential nominee in the Rajya Sabha was eligible to suddenly join the BJP and contest (Swapan Dasgupta resigned from the Upper House to contest from Tarakeshwar after the TMC raised the issue of rules) or whether Shikha Mitra consented to be a candidate,” the observer mentioned.

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