Kolkata: The West Bengal BJP has been hit by a massive internal revolt after Union minister of state for shipping Santanu Thakur and several newly-elected MLAs have left their party’s WhatsApp group for not getting posts in the recent rejig in the state unit’s organization under the leadership of Balurghat MP Sukanta Majumdar.
The reshuffle, which took place in December, saw the dropping of many old-timers of the BJP and the rise of a section of young leaders, including some with a RSS background, in the state unit. This, however, dashed the hopes of many others who did not get berths in the state committee or other panels even after becoming elected representatives.
A majority of them are followers of Santanu Thakur, who is from the Matua community and is also Bongaon’s MP. He found himself sidelined as none of the five MLAs from the community of Hindu migrants, who were on his side, was included in any of the fresh panels.
These legislators are Asim Sarkar of Haringhata, Ambika Roy of Kalyani, Subrata Thakur of Gaighata, Mukut Mani Adhikari of Ranaghat South and Ashok Kirtaniya of Bongaon North MLA. Subrata is also the brother of Santanu. Santanu, along with the five BJP MLAs, had quit the party’s WhatsApp group on January 3.
He later said: "The present leadership of the Bengal BJP does not need me or the Matuas’ vote bank. So, I do not need to be there." On Tuesday evening Santanu Thakur held a closed-door meeting and set four demands for the appointment of the five MLAs in various posts before the party as an ultimatum.
On Wednesday, another MLA, Hiran Chatterjee, left the party’s WhatsApp group and vented his anger. "It is pointless to be in the party’s WhatsApp group when I have not been given any responsibility. The state leadership and the central leadership are talking differently on the affairs here. Since I have been elected as an MLA, I will rather keep myself focused in that role only," said the actor-turned-legislator from Kharagpur.
While Trinamul Congress ministers Jyotipriyo Mullick and Firhad Hakim teased the BJP over developing cracks within the saffron fold, Mr Majumdar said: "There are some minor internal issues which will be sorted out soon."