Facebook page demanding ex-Meghalaya governer as BJP’s Bengal CM face surfaces
A Facebook page, created on Monday night and called “Tathagata Roy for CM”, has caused embarrassment for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) less than 48 hours after Kailash Vijayvargiya, the party’s national general secretary, had announced that nobody would be projected as the chief ministerial candidate for the crucial West Bengal assembly polls slated to be held next year.
The page had very few views until Tuesday afternoon.
A photograph of Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, the founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) and the BJP’s icon, was posted on the home page.
Vijayvargiya is one of the BJP leaders, who look after the organisational affairs of the party’s Bengal unit on behalf of the central leadership.
Roy had met Vijayvargiya in Kolkata on Monday afternoon and expressed his wish to actively work for the party. After the meeting he said that he did not aspire for any post and would serve in any role that the leadership assigns.
Roy had to give up the party membership because he had served as the governor of Tripura and Meghalaya. He returned to Kolkata on Sunday and is supposed to apply for the party membership again.
Around Monday midnight, one of the posts in the Facebook page ridiculed Vijayvargiya, suggesting that he is an outsider and questioning his right to decide who would be the chief ministerial face in poll-bound Bengal.
Roy (74) had served as the governor of Tripura from 2015 to 2018 and then of Meghalaya from 2018 until Satya Pal Malik succeeded him on August 19.
Roy, a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and known for his penchant for making controversial statements, was the president of the Bengal unit of the BJP between 2002 and 2006.
Roy did not respond to calls from HT on Tuesday afternoon.
Jay Prakash Majumdar, one of the senior vice-presidents of the state BJP, said, “Whoever has created the page is not aware of how the party operates. It must have been done by our political rivals. But if people in the BJP are responsible, then I must say they are completely oblivious and not even distantly connected with the organisation.”
The BJP would not project anyone as its chief ministerial candidate, Vijayvargiya had announced in Kolkata on Sunday.
“The achievements of the Narendra Modi government will be our face and it will ensure our victory. After the polls, elected BJP lawmakers can select their leader,” said Vijayvargiya, who is in the city to attend a series of meetings where strengths and weaknesses of district units in south Bengal are being evaluated.
A silent campaign over the BJP’s ‘prospective chief ministerial face’ for the 2021 election had become a thorn in the flesh for the leadership, a number of BJP leaders told HT.
“We strongly suspect that the campaign was started by a section of party leaders, who are pursuing personal agenda. It became the subject of widespread gossip and speculative news items, helping the ruling TMC (Trinamool Congress) to project our Bengal unit as a divided house. All this will end with Vijayvargiya’s announcement,” a BJP leader, who requested anonymity, had told HT on Sunday.
Quoting unnamed “BJP sources,” numerous news portals, social media pages and vernacular dailies have named a prominent sports personality, a BJP Rajya Sabha member, a Union minister, a member of a right-wing think tank and, last but not the least, a monk from the Ramakrishna Mission as the possible chief ministerial candidate against TMC leader and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
While the monk dismissed the rumour, the others were evasive about engaging in any debate on this issue.
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