By Arun Srivastava
Fly has fallen into the first morsel of BJP stalwart Sunil Bansal’s Chintan Shivir plate in Bengal. The three day shivir concluded on August 31.Sunil acknowledged as the second Chanakya, the trusted disciple of the original Chanakya Amit Shah has organised the Chintan Shivir to impart ideological and political guidanceto the senior BJP leaders. Last such Shivir was held at the small ‘Trishna Bhavan’, a community hall in Howrah. This year’s Shivir reflects the money power, the resources it has come to possess over these years in power at the centre and more than that the determination of the BJP leadership to throw out the TMC government of Mamata Banerjee.
Unfortunately his first official interaction with his colleagues in Bengal did not augur well for the party. The new minder of the Bengal BJP, committed a faux pass. In his hurry to send the message that everything was fine in state and the leaders have no differences on the issue of fighting TMC and Mamata and the party would identify itself with the cultural ethos of the Bengalis, Sunil’s translation of his original message in Hindi to Bengali and also in English changed the meaning and implication and turned him into a laughing stock amongst the members.
His message in Hindi read; “Paschim Bangal ke Kolkata mein aaj Pradesh prashikshan barg mein ‘karyakartaon-ka nirmaan evam vikash’ vishay par karyakartaon-ko sambodhit kiya”. It was translated in English as: “Addressed workers on the topic of ‘Building and Development of workers’ today at a training programme in West Bengal’s Calcutta.” But his Bengali translation was really disastrous. It read; “Aajkey Kolkatar Paschimbanger rajyer prasikshanbawrgo ‘Kawrmokawrtar nirmaan emon vikash’ vismoy kawrmokawrtader ke sawmbodhon korlam!!”. If his Hindi version read “Kolkata in West Bengal”, the Bengali translation read “ West Bengal of Kolakata”.
A large number of leaders are cut up at this mistake. They allege that this mistake reflects the mind-set of the Central leaders and how they treat the people of Bengal with disdain. This nature of glaring mistakes were noticed earlier during the election campaign. How much time they will take to learn and know Bengal. Some leaders blame the central leaders of their unwillingness to identify with the cultural ethos of the Bengali. Their approach and attitude towards Bengalis and Bengal have been quite embarrassing.
They point out how in the past leaders like the party chief J.P. Nadda and Union home minister Amit Shah had committed blunders. Shah had even decorated the statue of an adivasi leader and instead of confessing his mistake he justified by saying that he had actually offered floral tribute to Adivasi leader Birsa Munda. For some central leaders Rabindranath Tagore was born in Santiniketan. They recalled how their blunders were exploited by Mamata Banerjee to show them in poor light to the people of Bengal. She also accused the leaders of their utter inability to identify with the ethos of Bengal.
The Chintan Shivir has one more differences from the earlier exercises. The delegates’ entry and exit are restricted. Once they enter into the hall they are not allowed to come out. If the sources are to be relied the Shivir is the mixture of business with pleasure.
Sunil Bansal enjoys the credibility of enabling victory of the BJP in the recently held elections to Uttar Pradesh assembly. Being a man of Amit Shah, he was deputed to Bengal to evolve the mechanism to overthrow Mamata from power and turn the state unit a winning juggernaut. But unfortunately for him, the leaders are not in the mood to relent and listen to his sermons. Though the Shivir has been first interaction of Sunil with the state leaders, some prominent leaders preferred to skip the meet. This manifest the infighting in the state BJP is deep rooted. At least six-party MPs, including three ministers, did not attend the first day ‘Chintan Shivir’ in Rajarhat. The state BJP is conducting a three-day Chintan Shivir from August 29 to 31.
The immediate mission of the leadership has been to rejuvenate the rank and file to ensure its victory at the panchayat election scheduled to be held in 2023. With this in view the leadership had asked all its MPs and MLAs to attend the camp. Three Union ministers—Shantanu Thakur, Nisith Pramanick and John Barla, did not attend the meeting. Also three MPs, Raju Bista, SS Ahluwalia and Kumar Hembram did not attend the camp. Ironically the MPs did not prefer to inform the leaders of the reasons for their inability to attend.
Meanwhile the “Save Bengal group” the pressure group formed inside the party by some senior leaders have expressed their dissatisfaction over holding of the Shivir. They had shot a letter to J P Nadda alleging that the party was keen to strengthen the block level committees to ensure its victory, but they are not at all bothered of the families and kin of the cadres and leaders who lost their lives in recent post poll violence for the party. Around 350 leaders are participating at the Shivir.
How far this Shivir aimed at rejuvenating and reviving the party would succeed is yet uncertain. But one thing is certain that it will not eliminate the factionalism and groupism plaguing it. This is an endemic malaise. The Shivir would also strategise the policy and plan to erode the base of Mamata and her TMC. Already the ED and CBI have been tightening their grip on the TMC and its leaders. Abhishek Banerjee, nephew of Mamata has also come under the scanner of these agencies.
Leadership also nurses the feeling that there was imperative need to impart some kind of ideological training to the cadres at the ground level. The leaders participating at the Shivir would also be directed to furnish basic information from the ground level to the Central leadership. The participants will be asked to identify the new and young faces and induct them in the party. In fact with panchayat and Lok Sabha 2024 elections knocking at the door the Shivir heralds launching of electoral battle against Mamata. (IPA Service)