Latest News Today – As Bengal BJP Fights Dissent, Central Leadership Runs


The Trinamool claims 35 BJP MLAs are eager to return and are in touch with the leadership (File)

Kolkata:

The BJP has launched efforts to salvage its Bengal unit, with several leaders in the state raising tough questions and not hiding their resentment after the party’s election loss.

BJP Vice-President Mukul Roy skipped a party meet in Kolkata called by state chief Dilip Ghosh. Mr Roy has been silent but his son Shubranshu has not ruled out a return to Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress.

The Trinamool claims 35 BJP MLAs are eager to return and are in touch with the leadership. The tables are turned, gloats the party that lost its leaders and MLAs to the BJP in the weeks before the Bengal election.

Amid signs of brewing rebellion and “reverse migration”, the BJP’s most prominent acquisition from the Trinamool, Suvendu Adhikari, met with Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president JP Nadda in Delhi.

Two MPs, Arjun singh and Saumitra Khan, are also heading to Delhi for meetings aimed at “feedback and review”.

The party’s strategy, both during and after the state election, has been called into question by Bengal leaders, especially those who ditched Mamata Banerjee just before the polls.

These leaders resent that the BJP brought in campaigners from outside for the state election instead of relying on the local leadership that delivered 18 of Bengal’s 42 Lok Sabha seats in 2019. It was a “mistake” that helped Mamata Banerjee, they say, as she turned it into a “Mamata versus All” and a “Trinamool vs outsiders” fight.

Among the doubters is Trinamool alum and ex-minister Rajib Banerjee, who joined the BJP in the presence of Home Minister Amit Shah after dramatically flying to Delhi in a private jet arranged by the ruling party.

Mr Banerjee has, in a Facebook post, questioned his new party’s move to threaten President’s rule in Bengal and the Centre’s moves against Mamata Banerjee, who retained power by a landslide. The people of Bengal will not take it well, he says, and advises the party to focus on Covid and the aftermath of Cyclone Yaas.

Another former Trinamool leader, Sabyasachi, told a local channel: “Getting leaders who can’t speak Bengali to run the campaign was a mistake.”



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4 Missing At Mamata Banerjee’s | Sidnaz Blog

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Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool has lost key leaders to the BJP (File)

Kolkata:

Four faces were missing from a cabinet meeting called by Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday, raising eyebrows over the possibility of yet more Trinamool leaders switching political camps ahead of next year’s Assembly election.

Of the four, three offered perfectly valid explanations, Partha Chatterjee, the Secretary-General of the ruling party, said. Rajib Banerjee, the fourth, remained incommunicado till late in the evening.

Ominously, Mr Banerjee, the Forests Minister and the MLA from Domjur, has been striking discordant notes over the past few weeks. In November, at a public meeting in Kolkata, he spoke about nepotism and sycophancy in the party, alleging that “yes men” were rising to prominence and that this was a matter of great personal disappointment.

Mr Banerjee’s comments appeared to mirror those by Suvendu Adhikari – the influential former Trinamool leader who last week joined the BJP. Last month Mr Adhikari spoke of “leaders arriving by parachute or lift” – a reference to Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee.

Rajib Banerjee’s comments led to him being called for talks by Mr Chatterjee. Poll strategist Prashant Kishore was reportedly present at the meeting.

After the talks Mr Banerjee did strike a more conciliatory note, and said his issues with the party should not be linked to those of his former colleagues, specially Mr Adhikari. Nevertheless, his absence at today’s cabinet meet is being viewed with suspicion.

Among the other missing ministers were North Bengal Development Minister Rabindranath Ghosh of Cooch Behar. Mr Ghosh said he was busy monitoring the Duare, Duare campaign – an outreach programme by Ms Banerjee to help people access government services.

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Gautam Deb, the tourism minister from Darjeeling district, has been unwell, and Chandranath Sinha of Birbhum said he was occupied preparing for the Chief Minister’s visit next week.

The Trinamool, which faces a stern fight to retain control in Bengal in the face of an onslaught by the BJP, has lost at least seven legislators and dozens of others to the opposition party. Several, including Mr Adhikari, joined the BJP ds December 19, in the presence of Home Minister Amit Shah.

Addressing a rally in the Paschim Medinipur district, Mr Shah taunted Ms Banerjee over the defections, saying: “Didi, this is only the beginning by the time the elections come around only you and your nephew will be left in the party.”

Associates of Mr Adhikari, who is widely regarded as playing a key role in the Nandigram movement that paved the way for Mamata Banerjee come to power in 2011, have reportedly told the BJP they can “break” the Trinamool in three months.

The Trinamool has shrugged off the exits, describing them as “good riddance to liabilities”. However, privately several party leaders admit concerns and say that if Rajib Banerjee, or other high-profile figures, were to leave, it may impact party morale.

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