By Tirthankar Mitra
Cracks are discernible in BJP’s West Bengal unit. After a communication gap between the leadership and the rank and file has been voiced by the party’s national vice-president Dilip Ghosh, it cannot be dismissed as a canard of Trinamool Congress or Left.
And this is not the first time this organisational lacuna has been cited. Though Ghosh, a former state unit chief is known to have differences with other leaders, he was by no means airing a baseless charge. For Ghosh an organisation man knows the state unit like the palm of his hand. It was during his tenure as the state party chief that BJP won 18 seats in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Moreover, speaking at an internal meeting of the party recently, Ghosh seemed to be reiterating what the party’s central observer Sunil Bansal had earlier said. He had threatened to replace some of the district chiefs of his party if they continued to practise factionalism in running their respective organisations.
As for the West Bengal unit of BJP, factionalism can spell disaster for it in the rural polls and the Lok Sabha elections next year. Internal reports of the party sent to the central leadership have already identified West Bengal as a state where it is already on thin ice.
Coming out scathingly at a meeting held at National Library auditorium, Ghosh zeroed on the organisational fault lines. A portrait of organisationally strong BJP, he regretted exist only on paper. Organisation is almost non-existent at mandal level, the former state chief stated. Mandal is a basic unit of the saffron party’s organisational hierarchy.
Pointing out more cracks in the party organisation, the veteran leader said that there are very few members in many anchal committees, another organisational unit of the party. The morchas denoting the different wings of the party are not being utilised, he felt.
The morchas are not in sync with the state BJP, Ghosh further regretted. Expressing his opinion about the district units, he said that the meetings convened by them are poorly attended. Ghosh later said that he had voiced the experiences of his tours in north and south Bengal districts. The newly inducted activists have to be properly guided, he added.
Ghosh’s words ought to be a wake up call for the state unit of BJP. Already asked in no uncertain terms by the national leadership to pull up its socks, the West Bengal unit of BJP does not seem to be in a state to take on Trinamool Congress and the Congress Left combine on an equal footing.
The BJP activists are conspicuous by their absence in the slew of agitations rocking the state, even if leader of the Opposition, Suvendu Adhikari has been in the news for the series of legal battles he is waging against the Trinamool dispensation on various issues. A strange complacency seems to have enveloped the state unit of BJP.
There is no effort to hit the ground running. Such is the dismal state of the organisation that a BJP party office, the one nearest to chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s residence remains locked. Signs of disorientation were visible earlier at a party meet in Durgapur. Several participants left before the session was over being in a hurry to reach the railway station lest they miss their train.
The enthusiasm in the wake of winning 18 Lok Sabha seats in 2019 and emerging as the principal Opposition party in the state Assembly elections two years hence could not sustained for a longer time span. The absence or minimal presence of the saffron activists in agitations on a raft of issues ranging from corruption to state government employees’ demand for dearness allowance at par with central government personnel speaks volumes of the lack of connect of the state BJP with the masses.
Having risen from the ranks, Ghosh has put his finger on the communication gap between the leadership and grassroot activists. The sooner efforts are made to bridge it, the better for the West Bengal unit of BJP which otherwise seem to be destined for a downhill journey in the rural polls and Lok Sabha elections next year. (IPA Service)