Kolkata: As the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP reels under the impact of heavyweight MP Arjun Singh rejoining Trinamool Congress (TMC), its unit in Jalpaiguri is also facing a deep crisis and is ‘breaking up’, said sources. In fact, BJP leaders and workers are so angry with the district leadership and office- bearers that they are reportedly moving away from organisational responsibilities, indicating a breakdown in the district team, said sources.
Political observers say BJP has been on the decline in the district much before the Assembly polls in 2021. There were hundreds of divisions in the party over who should stand for the elections and who should campaign for the party. Even before the list of candidates was announced, BJP activists set fire to and vandalised the party’s main office in the district. Later, attempts were made to blame the TMC camp for this. However, the BJP saw a poor outcome in the last Assembly polls.
Even after the Assembly election setback, there is still a controversy over who will handle organisational activities in the district, say political observers. Instead of motivating and rejuvenating the workers after the drubbing in the Assembly polls, the local leadership has been seen getting involved in controversial issues and even violence. As a result, there is a visible decline in the number of members and supporters attending party programmes.
In fact, the situation was worse during district municipal elections this year with rising factionalism hurting the party’s poll prospects. Many important BJP candidates in the district got only 20 to 100 votes. The saffron party did not win a single seat in the Jalpaiguri municipality.
On the other hand, Left candidates regained seats compared with the last municipal elections. With the resurgence of the Left, resentment within the saffron camp is rising. According to some BJP leaders who have associated with the party for a long time, the district party president of Jalpaiguri has retained power without giving any importance to old cadres. They said the municipal election results reflected this.
Sources within the BJP claim that several parallel groups have formed against the district leadership. These groups are accusing the state leadership as well as the central leadership for the current state of the party in Jalpaiguri.
A few days ago, over 60 disgruntled BJP leaders are said to have held a meeting at the house of BJP MLA Kaushik Roy in Mainaguri. According to sources, these party leaders have formed parallel committees in all blocks of the district. This group could announce a major decision in the next few weeks, if they are not heard by the party state and central leadership, said sources.
The key grievance of this disgruntled group is that the MLA of Mainaguri was not included in the district committee, as per the rules of the party. Also, there has been a long-running controversy after the MLA's close associates were also dropped from the district committee. There are also allegations that the BJP district leadership is giving the post of Mandal president in exchange for money, as per the district secretary Amal Chandra Roy, 20 district co-presidents. Meanwhile, Jayant Roy and Nimai Chandra Roy and 20 others BJP leaders and functionaries have resigned from organisational posts. The clear message from the resigning leaders is that they no longer have confidence in the district leadership.
Incidentally, there are seven Assembly seats in Jalpaiguri district: Dhupguri, Mainaguri, Jalpaiguri, Rajganj, Dabgram-Phulbari, Mal, and Nagarakata. BJP won Dhupguri, Mainaguri, Dabgram-Phulbari, Nagarakata seats in the 2021 Assembly election. However, it failed to win any of the four municipalities in the district in the 2022 bye-elections.
(This is an edited version of the original article)