Rahul Sinha’s removal, Mukul Roy’s induction spells out BJP’s message to Bengal unit and TMC

Significantly, it was not Sinha’s exit but the new inductions from the ruling TMC that seemed to bother old BJP leaders and party workers.
Mukul Roy who had joined the party in 2017, served as the convenor of the Bengal unit of the BJP’s election management committee for the 2018 panchayat polls and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He was the party’s national executive before being appointed as the vice president.(HT Photo)
Mukul Roy who had joined the party in 2017, served as the convenor of the Bengal unit of the BJP’s election management committee for the 2018 panchayat polls and the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He was the party’s national executive before being appointed as the vice president.(HT Photo)
Updated on Sep 27, 2020 11:47 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Kolkata | ByTanmay Chatterjee | Edited by Sparshita Saxena

By dropping former Bengal unit president Rahul Sinha from the national committee and inducting two former Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) central leadership has sent a strong message to its leaders as well as the ruling party in the poll-bound state, said state leaders.

The reshuffle was announced by BJP president J P Nadda in Delhi on Saturday.

“Sinha was dropped as part of an ongoing exercise. The national leadership wants to project new and younger leaders. The leadership was not happy with Sinha’s performance as a national secretary. Also, the fact that he could never win an election becomes crucial when the BJP has set a target to overthrow the TMC government in 2021,” a senior state BJP leader told HT on Sunday evening on condition of anonymity.

“Sinha was not the only one to be dropped. More senior and prominent leaders such as Ram Madhav, Anil Jain and Muralidhar Rao were dropped as well,” the leader added.

Significantly, it was not Sinha’s exit but the new inductions from the ruling TMC that seemed to bother old BJP leaders and party workers.

Sinha was replaced by former TMC Lok Sabha member Anupam Hazra as national secretary and Mukul Roy, the BJP national executive member who helped the saffron camp break into the TMC’s vote bank, was made a national vice-president. Roy had resigned from the Rajya Sabha in 2017 and joined the BJP.

Also read: Mukul Roy, CM Mamata’s former confidante made BJP vice president ahead of crucial Bengal polls

Sinha voiced his dissent, saying, after serving the party for 40 years he had to make way for leaders from the TMC.

As Sinha’s emphasis on entry of TMC leaders came under focus, Bengal BJP leaders maintained official silence to avoid controversy.

“I served the party as a soldier since its birth and this is how I was rewarded. Nothing can be more unfortunate. I do not want to say anything on this reward. I will make a statement in 10 or 12 days and decide my future course of action,” Sinha said in a video message that went viral.

“What Sinha did is somewhat unprecedented in our regimented structure. The leadership had plans to entrust him with an important role. But he spoke too strongly,” said another BJP leader who was in touch with two central leaders on Sunday.

“There was a growing feeling among TMC workers and leaders who joined the BJP in recent years that there was no scope for them to go up the hierarchy since they do not have a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) background. This is a common perception among people in other parties. The reshuffle will counter this perception and may encourage more people from TMC to defect,” said another state BJP leader who was involved in managing the Lok Sabha poll preparations in 2019.

Amid the rumblings, dissent and factionalism came out in the open on Sunday.

Hazra was gheraoed by a section of BJP workers at Baruipur in the South 24 Parganas district where he went to attend a meeting of party workers on Sunday afternoon. The disgruntled workers, who defected from the TMC, demanded before Hazra that district unit president Hari Krishna Dutta, an old-timer in the BJP, be replaced. Several people were injured when the rival groups clashed after Hazra left Baruipur.

In North 24 Parganas district, on the other hand, BJP workers ransacked chairs at a meeting organised by loyalists of the Basirhat unit president Tarak Ghosh. They alleged that the local unit was not organizing any movement against the TMC.

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