The BJP, which was on a poaching spree ahead of the West Bengal assembly election, is now facing the prospect of an exodus following its poll drubbing.
Several BJP leaders now blame Trinamool Congress defectors and newly recruited celebrities for the party’s electoral debacle, even as some Trinamool deserters express a desire for ghar wapsi.
According to Trinamool sources, at least a dozen people who had left the party in the run-up to the election have expressed their willingness to return.
Following the Trinamool’s handsome win, some defectors heaped praise on party chief Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek. “Development works done by the Mamata Banerjee government and the way Abhishek Banerjee ensured those [benefits] reach the people got reflected in the election results,” claimed Prabir Ghosal, the former MLA who joined the BJP in January this year.
Ghosal, like most of the defectors, lost the election.
Mamata has offered an olive branch to those who want to return. “Those who had left the party will be welcomed if they want to come back,” she had said at a press conference after her victory, triggering a flurry of back-channel talks.
BJP national vice president and former Trinamool leader Mukul Roy was conspicuous by his absence in the BJP legislature party meeting on Friday (May 7). After taking oath from the protem speaker, the newly elected Krishnanagar North MLA went straight to the TMC legislature party room and held a quiet discussion with party general secretary Subrata Bakshi. Roy did not even once go to the BJP legislature party room.
Both Bakshi and Roy did not reveal what they discussed, but the meeting added intensity to the speculation about the homecoming of TMC deserters.
“I will not say anything now. There comes a moment when it is better to keep quiet,” Roy told newspersons after meeting with Bakshi.
It was Roy who triggered the exodus from the TMC to the BJP in late 2017. Now a reverse migration will soon begin, claimed sources in both the TMC and the BJP.
“Almost all those who have lost the elections will have no other option but to return to the TMC because they will face a backlash from the BJP old guard. But a section within our party is not keen to take back the traitors,” said a TMC MP.
TMC leader and former minister Arup Roy conveyed his reservations about welcoming those who had jumped the party ship ahead of elections, the MP revealed.
BJP leader and former Tripura and Meghalaya governor Tathagata Roy said the BJP state unit would soon face two rounds of exodus — first of those who had come from the Trinamool and second of old karyakartas (workers).
In a series of tweets Roy accused BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya, Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh, national joint general secretary Shiv Prakash, and co-in-charge of West Bengal Arvind Menon of heaping “the worst possible insults on ideologically driven BJP workers and devout RSS workers”.
Roy has been summoned to New Delhi by the central leadership for his outburst.
The action, however, failed to contain the rebellion. Another BJP leader and the party’s prominent Dalit face Paresh Chandra Das on Friday went public with criticism of the party leadership.
Das has blamed the leadership for the post-poll violence in the state at a time when the BJP is trying to corner the TMC government over the issue
“Bengal is burning today & the Bengalis are dying due to wrong policies and practices of BJP & TMC as well. To a great extent, I agree with Tathagata Roy. Dalits and downtrodden are the most sufferers as usual while they (90%) have voted for BJP. What a shame!! (sic),” he tweeted.