Differences in Bengal BJP come to fore as youth wing chief Saumitra Khan quits

Saumitra Khan
BJP Yuva Morcha president Saumitra Khan

Kolkata: On a day when four Bharatiya Janata Party MPs from West Bengal were inducted into the Narendra Modi government, internal differences in the party’s state unit came to fore after the state BJP Yuva Morcha president Saumitra Khan resigned from his post and strongly criticised Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari and state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh for “inefficiency” in running the party in the state.

On Wednesday, four BJP MPs Shantanu Thakur, Nishith Pramanik, Subhas Sarkar and John Barla took oath as Ministers of State. Though their portfolios are yet to be announced, it is the highest representation from the state in the Modi ministry. Previously, Babul Supriyo and Deboshree Chaudhuri represented the state but they were now dropped to get in new faces.

With an eye to the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP tried to cater to different regions and ethnicities of West Bengal. While Thakur, the MP from Bongaon in North 24 Parganas, is a leader of the Matua community, Barla, an MP from Alipurduar, is a tribal leader with considerable influence over the tea gardens.

On the other hand, Pramanik, a young MP from Cooch Behar, represents the Rajbanshi community, while Sarkar, a MP from Bankura and a trained medical practitioner, represents the tribal-dominated Jangalmahal region in the southwestern part of the state.

When the central BJP leadership is thinking of spreading the organisational base of the party, the inter-personal differences that came to the fore might become a spoilsport for the saffron brigade – as evinced by the resignation of Khan, the MP from Bishnupur, and his attack on the party leadership.

Appearing on Facebook Live, Khan strongly criticised Adhikari for “misleading” the central leadership. “What is happening is not happening right. One is going to Delhi and misleading the central leaders. I am cornered in the party,” Khan said without naming Adhikari.

“I have never asked for anything for my family. I have also sacrificed but there is one who is projecting himself in such a way as if he is doing everything. I have also won the election without even entering into the constituency but there is one who is trying to project himself – misleading the central leadership,” Khan said.

“I shall be in the party and work for the party but I shall always point out the wrong things,” Saumitra Khan added.

Asked about the development, Adhikari said: “Saumitra is like my brother and I don’t want to give too much importance to these things. I went to his election campaign and will continue to help him whenever he needs me. I want his success in the political field.”

Criticising Ghosh, Saumitra Khan said: “Our President doesn’t understand half of the things. If we tell him something, he will listen half and ignore the other half. This BJP party is run by two people. Look at the mirror! Don’t run the party at your whims and fancies. This will be harmful for the party.”

Asked about Khan’s comments, Ghosh said: “I have not received any resignation letter so far and so I don’t want to make a comment on this. Let me see the resignation letter first and then the party shall decide.”

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