BJP tries to resolve Bengal rift; clips Vijayvargiya’s wings, revamps top brass

The party sends RSS man as general secretary (organization) amid reports of emerging LF-Cong tie-up months before state assembly polls

Kailash Vijayvargiya
BJP general secretary in-charge of West Bengal, Kailash Vijayvargiya, has been told to spend more time in Madhya Pradesh, his home state. File Photo: PTI

Worried over factional fights in West Bengal months ahead of the Assembly polls early next year, the central BJP has directly intervened to make organizational changes.

The rift within the BJP came out in the open on October 23 when state president Dilip Ghosh unilaterally dissolved all district committees of the party’s Yuva Morcha. The committees had been formed a day earlier by Lok Sabha MP Saumitra Khan, who heads the BJP Yuva Morcha.

The party’s efforts also come in the wake of reports that the West Bengal Congress is in the final stages of sewing up an alliance with the Left Front. The Congress-LF leaderships met recently and decided to identify common issues before launching a joint movement after Diwali (November 14). If formed, the alliance can pose a serious threat to not only the ruling Trinamool but also the resurgent BJP which had bagged 18 seats in the Lok Sabha polls held last year.

A day after appointing RSS pracharak Amitava Chakravorty the new general secretary (organization) of the state unit, sources said the party had asked its national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya to spend more time in Madhya Pradesh than Bengal, where he is the central co-observer.

In his place, the BJP’s national joint-general secretary (organization) Shiv Prakash, who looks after its affairs in West Bengal, has been asked to spend more time in the state.

Also read: Bengal BJP evaluating leaders’ performance, set for major overhaul

Sources in the BJP quoted by the Indian Express said the move was aimed at sending a message to two factions in the state unit.

“The party has no intention to tolerate infighting anymore and does not want to lose the momentum it gained in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The growing rift between Dilip Ghosh camp and Mukul Roy camp was hurting the party’s prospects for 2021 state Assembly polls. With these changes, the central leadership has taken matters of its West Bengal unit in its own hand. The state unit of the party from now onwards will be looked after by central leaders who will supervise the leaders and chalk out strategies,” said a senior BJP leader.

The factions emerged after Mukul Roy’s induction into the party in 2017. The rift widened post Lok Sabha polls as Trinamool Congress workers and leaders started defecting to the saffron outfit. The party veterans sided with state president Dilip Ghosh and the newcomers were embraced by Roy, who had Vijayvargiya’s support.

The infighting intensified after the formation of a new state committee last month in which newcomers were given crucial posts. Meanwhile, Mukul Roy was made the national vice-president. He replaced national secretary Rahul Sinha, a party veteran.

Although MP and BJYM state chief Saumitra Khan buried the hatchet with Ghosh on Bijoya Dashami, the central leadership decided to step in and end the infighting.

Also read: Rattled by desertions, BJP scurries to stop infighting in Bengal unit

In a statement, the party on Wednesday announced that Chakravorty would replace Subrato Chattopadhyay as general secretary (organisation). Chattopadhyay, a close aide of Dilip Ghosh, had been serving in the post since 2014. According to sources, the state BJP chief vehemently opposed the move.

Chakravorty was a student leader and served as the state secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). Later, he became a RSS pracharak. In 2016, he joined the BJP and former national president Amit Shah appointed him the state joint general secretary for Odisha. In 2019, BJP national president JP Nadda appointed him the state joint general secretary in West Bengal.

By clipping Vijayvargiya’s wings the central leadership also sent a message to Mukul Roy’s camp, indicating that it has sort things out with Ghosh’s faction and put up a united face in the Assembly polls.

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