Amit Shah’s Strong Message To Bengal BJP Leaders: Resolve Differences And Hit The Roads To Corner Trinamool

by Jaideep Mazumdar - Aug 3, 2022 06:29 PM +05:30 IST
Amit Shah’s Strong Message To Bengal BJP Leaders: Resolve Differences And Hit The Roads To Corner TrinamoolHome Minister Amit Shah.
Snapshot
  • Now that the teachers’ recruitment scam has been exposed and the Trinamool is in the dock, the BJP central leadership has told the state leadership that this is the “golden opportunity” to take on the Trinamool.

What would Mamata Banerjee have done if she was in the opposition in Bengal and a scam of the magnitude of the cash-for-jobs-in-schools broke out in the state?

This pointed question was posed by a top BJP central leader to a visiting senior party functionary from Bengal recently. The former provided the answer himself: she (Mamata) would have launched a massive agitation all over the state by taking out rallies, staging dharnas and fasts and would have mobilised people against the government.

The point the central BJP leader was making was that the state BJP leadership is not capitalising on the scam forcefully enough to mobilise public opinion against the ruling Trinamool and Mamata Banerjee. He also suggested that the party state leaders study how Mamata Banerjee launched the Nandigram and Singur movements that ultimately catapulted her to power and demolished the powerful Left Front that ruled the state for 34 years.

This message was repeated by Union Home Minister Amit Shah when Bengal leader of opposition Suvendu Adhikary called on him at his office in Parliament Tuesday (August 2). Shah told Adhikary that the state party unit should intensify the fledgling movement it had launched against the massive teacher recruitment scam.

Shah is learnt to have told Adhikary that the scam presented the party with a “great opportunity” to paint the Trinamool regime as corrupt and turn public opinion against it. But the negative public perception that now prevails against the Trinamool won’t last long if the BJP does not launch a massive movement against the scam.

'It is very important to capitalise on the scam and make the prevailing negative perception more intense. Launch a mass movement, especially in the rural areas, and corner the Trinamool. Don’t give any quarter to the Trinamool and demolish Mamata Banerjee’s image by linking her to the scam', Shah is learnt to have told Adhikary.

Except for a few protest rallies (against the scam) organised by Adhikary, the BJP in Bengal has not really hit the streets. Other state leaders have confined themselves to issuing statements in the media condemning the scam.

This has left the BJP central leadership dismayed. Party national president J.P. Nadda is learnt to have spoken to a few senior party functionaries in Bengal and told in no uncertain terms that the party can never hope to dislodge Mamata Banerjee from power without launching mass movements.

When Shah visited Bengal in May, he expressly told party leaders in the state that they should not depend on probes by central investigating agencies into alleged scams in the state. He had told the state leaders that they will have to go to the people, acquaint themselves with people’s problems and concerns and take up those issues, and also launch mass movements to highlight people’s grievances.

BJP national president J.P.Nadda had delivered the same stern message to state party leaders when he visited the state in June. Nadda had also asked the state party leaders to sink their differences and launch mass movements highlighting burning issues of the state.

“Both Nadda and Shah told the state party leaders, including state president Sukanta Majumdar, his predecessor Dilip Ghosh, and others that they have to work much harder and take up issues that concern the people. Both the senior central leaders pointed out that corruption and extortion are rife in Bengal and the state unit should launch movements centering around these issues,” a national office-bearer of the BJP told Swarajya from New Delhi.

Dormant state leaders were also reportedly told that they cannot afford to stay away from the streets. They have been repeatedly asked to work with the other state leaders and jointly chalk out movements and agitations.

However, all the advice and directives from the central leaders have mostly fallen on deaf ears. As stated earlier, except for Suvendu Adhikary, no other state leaders have hit the streets to protest the teachers’ recruitment scam and build up public opinion against the Trinamool.

Many state leaders prefer to indulge in petty oneupmanship, ego battles and blame games instead of launching protests and movements. “Some of the state leaders have complained that Adhikary often acts unilaterally and does not take others into confidence while chalking out parry programmes. But they have been told that the onus is on them to sort out all issues and participate in all programmes by sinking their differences and egos,” the BJP national functionary said.

Now that the teachers’ recruitment scam has been exposed and the Trinamool is in the dock, the BJP central leadership has told the state leadership that this is the “golden opportunity” to take on the Trinamool.

“Had Mamata Banerjee been in the opposition, she would have launched a massive movement and would have sustained it till the downfall of the government. Banerjee and her party are in a difficult spot now and they can be easily cornered. A massive and sustained movement can take the sheen off her image and cause permanent damage to her. But for that, the state leaders have to get together and launch coordinated movements all over the state,” said the BJP leader.

Amit Shah told Suvendu Adhikary that the protest movements against the scam should be launched immediately and sustained till the rural polls in the state slated for next year.

The substance of Amit Shah’s message to Suvendu Adhikary was that people of Bengal know that the Trinamool is a corrupt party and all its leaders and functionaries, as well as police and civil administration officials, take ‘cut money’ and are involved in many extortion rackets. The people of Bengal experience and are affected by corruption in their daily lives and they will respond very positively to a protest movement against corruption and extortion. This is the right time to launch such a movement.

Shah also requested Adhikary to take others in the party along while chalking out and launching movements. Unity and synergy are the need of the hour and the party has to project a united face so as to gain the confidence of the masses.

Nadda repeated more or less the same message to Adhikary when the latter called on him later. Nadda also reportedly asked Adhikary to apprise him regularly about political programmes and what hurdles he faces in implementing them.

Simultaneously, all the other ‘reluctant’ leaders in the party’s state unit who have remained dormant have been delivered a tough ‘now or never’ message. They have been asked to pull up their socks and launch political movements.

“The sense of urgency displayed by the BJP central leadership is understandable. The BJP’s top leadership is extremely mature and politically sharp and experienced, and they know that this is the right time to capitalise on people’s anger and disenchantment with the Trinamool. This is the right time to wipe the sheen off Mamata Banerjee. If the BJP can do that, it stands a good chance of breaking the Trinamool’s Bengal bastion. The first breach in that bastion can be caused by a good show in next year’s rural polls by the BJP, followed by a creditable performance in the Lok Sabha polls in 2024 and, ultimately, the Assembly polls in 2026,” said political analyst Ranabir Roychowdhury.

A BJP leader who has been drafted into the party’s state unit to make it ‘fighting fit’ said that the unearthing of the teachers’ recruitment scam has severely dented the Trinamool’s image and left it shell-shocked. “The time to deliver the first of the debilitating punches that will weaken the Trinamool and pave way for the ultimate knockout punch that will demolish the party is now,” he said, echoing the party’s central leaders.

What remains to be seen now is if the majority of the state leadership will heed the call of the central leadership and get out of the cosy confines of their homes and party offices to do meaningful work on the ground.

Jaideep Mazumdar is an associate editor at Swarajya.

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