A month after the Assembly polls and after the massive victory of the Trinamool Congress, the rift in the West Bengal unit of the BJP is out in the open with leaders speaking in different voices on crucial issues including Article 356. On Tuesday, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Suvendu Adhikari met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and party president J.P. Nadda in Delhi.
Mr. Adhikari said the situation “is far worse than what is required for the Centre to impose President’s rule under Article 356”.
But party leader Rajib Banerjee said on social media that if at “every stage the party tries to scare people by pointing at Delhi and the ghost of Article 356, the people of West Bengal will not take it well”. Both Mr. Adhikari and Mr. Banerjee were Ministers in the TMC government and had joined the BJP months before the Assembly polls. While Mr. Adhikari narrowly won the Nandigram seat defeating Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Mr. Banerjee lost his seat in Domjur in Howrah by a margin of over 40,000 votes.
The State BJP leadership held an organisational meeting in Kolkata under the leadership of Dilip Ghosh. Mr. Ghosh had a tough time explaining why Rajib Banerjee and party vice-president Mukul Roy did not participate in the meeting. Not only the absence of the leaders at an important meeting is a matter of concern but both Mr. Roy and Mr. Banerjee have also reportedly started tilting towards the TMC. Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up Mr. Roy after TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee visited a city hospital to enquire about the health of Mr. Roy’s wife.
On Tuesday, TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee took a swipe at the BJP saying the BJP should first settle differences within the party before targeting the Trinamool. The TMC leadership also described the talk of imposing Article 356 as ‘undemocratic’.
BJP to hit streets from June 23
“The Trinamool Congress wants an Opposition-free state,” Mr. Ghosh alleged, adding that the party will approach President Ram Nath Kovind over incidents of post-poll violence. He also said the BJP leadership has sent details of the violence and those affected by it to the Chief Secretary. He said the party will hit the streets from June 23. The State is under pandemic restrictions till June 15.
Another issue that the BJP leadership, including Mr. Adhikari and Mr. Ghosh, tried to address was the Trinamool’s claims that a number of its elected MLAs are in touch with it and will defect soon. “There is an anti-defection law and Leader of the Opposition is Suvendu Adhikari. I dare the TMC to engineer defections in the BJP,” Mr. Adhikari said.