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Ahead of WB elections, BJP welcomes those jumping ship

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on December 29, 2020

As the Bengal unit of the BJP initiates organisational reshuffle ahead of the State assembly elections, one trend has emerged clear, defecting Trinamool Congress leaders are gaining prominence in the BJP.

The move, say political observers, is a signal that clearly aimed at giving two messages: BJP will reward performers even if they are turncoats.

Party MP Swapan Dasgupta says “As we grow, new people will join. They will be accommodated based on their capabilities and merit,” he said.

Recent reshuffle

The recent organisational reshuffle in the party was initiated days after Union Home Minister, Amit Shah’s visit to the State.

The visit witnessed a big ticket shift in loyalties with Suvendu Adhikari – Mamata Banerjee’s Nandigram anti-land acquisition stir hero – and nine other MLAs across Trinamool, Left and Congress moving to the BJP.

Adhikari – once a bête noire for BJP - was listed as a speaker at Shah’s public rally and shared the dais, and was called “bhai Suvendu” by the Union Home Minister, thereby signifying his prominence in the party.

The re-shuffle saw, Sovan Chatterjee, former Mayor of Kolkata and Mamata Banerjee’s one-time confidante being appointed as BJP’s observer for the Kolkata zone.

Former office-bearer of the Trinamool affiliated, West Bengal College University Teachers’ Association, Baisakhi Banerjee, was appointed co-convenor of the party's Kolkata zone along with former Trinamool students' wing chief, Shankudeb Panda.

Mafuja Khatun – who had previously switched over from the Left Front - was appointed observer of the Minority Morcha.

Bengal gets prominence

In a similar move, earlier in September, three leaders from the state were picked for the party’s national team of office-bearers. It signified the growing importance of Bengal for the BJP. The party’s old-hand Rahul Sinha was dropped from the national team.

Apart from Mukul Roy who was elevated as National Vice-President of the BJP, former Parliamentarian Anupam Hazra and Lok Sabha MP Raju Bista were named as National Secretary and national spokesperson respectively.

Winning Formula

According to poll analyst, Biswanath Chakraborty, previous organisational reshuffles in BJP have clearly shown that the party was willing to “reward performers”. But, was quick to maintain that this “breakaway-joining-rewarding” cycle has been a BJP-specific strategy.

Published on December 29, 2020

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