Why BJP needs disgruntled elements like Mukul Roy to beat Mamata

'Compelled' to quit the Trinamool, he can help the saffron party disintegrate the enemy from within.

 |  5-minute read |   12-10-2017
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A party, which swears by Rama, has suddenly discovered a huge potential on Vibhishana-like characters in the enemy camp, who can be of immense help in disintegrating the enemy from within.

Having found a heavyweight and potent Vibhishana in Mukul Roy, ready to cross the fence, the BJP is looking to poach many more disgruntled elements from the Trinamool Congress and other parties, whose political acumen and organisational skills could be used in slaying their Ravana or Mamata Banerjee. Roy and his organisational skills and reach among party cadres at the grass-roots level is being banked upon for causing a rift in the Trinamool Congress.

In this war against Banerjee's party, the BJP is relying more on guile and insidious information to trump the enemy.

“There are over a dozen Trinamool Congress party leaders, some MPs and MLAs, who are constantly talking to him and they are doing it secretively. Already our cadres in the districts are in touch with Mukul da. North and South Dinajpur are likely to be split vertically. Same is with Malda, North 24 Parganas,” said a close aide of Mukul Roy.

The BJP central leadership is anxious to have some of these big names on board so as to boost the confidence of the ruling party. Unhappy with the organisational strength and the progress of the state's BJP unit, party’s national president Amit Shah on his September visit to West Bengal, minced no words when he said “now Bengal” call will never be possible, given the sluggish way the state leaders are going about it.

With a little over a year left for the 2019 General Elections, the BJP’s progress report has been far from satisfactory.

“As of now, the situation is such that the BJP is even losing the two MP seats, it had in 2014. Amid this situation what is required is a drastic shake in the party, change in leadership and aggressive leaders, with prior knowledge of seizing a victory. Getting someone with such experience will only make things easier,” said a BJP party leader, requesting anonymity.

It’s been close to five months since Shah had laid down the task of forming booth committees at each of the 77,000 booths in Bengal based on the UP model of "mere booth - sabse mazboot". But a little over 50 per cent, that is, 44,000 have been formed so far.

Out of the target of 294 vistaraks, one for each of the West Bengal Assembly seats, only 91 are on the field. By the end of this year, the party has plans to achieve close to 100 per cent booth coverage.

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“Shah was furious as to how could the state leaders allow the Trinamool Congress to hijack party supporters of Naxalbari, where he had lunch during his May visit. The excuse of the ruling party’s atrocities on BJP workers was set aside. He has asked us to retaliate and face the challenge,” said a state general secretary, requesting anonymity.

The few movements, the state BJP organised over the past 10 months were far from impressive. There was an unexpected crowd in the marches and the rallies. But when it came to facing the police baton or atrocities of Trinamool Congress goons, the street-smart, aggressive agitators cowered.

Citing the example of Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP had to fight a far more strong and dangerous opponent – the Samajwadi Party, Shah ordered the leaders to go full throttle and pull out all stops to take on the Trinamool Congress.

He has also sought help of the RSS leaders to engage their boys in khaki in the “Now Bengal” drive. “RSS cadres by virtue of their social and cultural activities have greater reach in rural and urban Bengal. With the rise in number of RSS units in the state to 1,700, we have increased our weekly and monthly programmes in Bengal. Our main agenda is to eradicate jihadi elements from Bengal and we are on an equal footing with BJP as far as Muslim appeasement, rise in fundamentalist forces in state are concerned,” said RSS general secretary Jishnu Basu.

With the aid of the RSS on one hand and the Vibhishanas on the other, the BJP is planning its Bengal conquest. The only way the party could hope to gain in numbers is to have a massive exodus at the grass-roots level. “We are looking for such names, who are trusted and hold a certain command over the party workers. Mukul Roy is going to be a perfect fit for the role,” said the same BJP leader.

Again, Mukul Roy, "known for being the best friend of minorities", could be used by the BJP to make a dent in the minority vote bank, which had gone en-bloc to the Trinamool Congress.

“A four per cent swing in the minority vote bank and two to three per cent swing from Trinamool Congress would benefit the BJP with 12-15 seats in Lok Sabha ,” Roy said, explaining the arithmetic of polls.

He’s hoping to cut a neat six per cent vote-share from Trinamool Congress’ 42 per cent in the 2016 Assembly election. The drop of six per cent from the ruling party, if added to the Opposition share of 31 per cent would be enough to give Trinamool Congress the jitters. The trend of increase in the BJP’s vote share in by-elections from 10.5 per cent to 31 per cent is interesting.

“From my understanding, it might be so that Trinamool Congress might just not get 50 per cent of the Lok Sabha seats in Bengal, if there is just a swing here and a swing there,” the rebel Trinamool Congress leader, Roy added.

Roy is not just going after the dissatisfied Trinamool Congress men. He held a closed door meeting with Congress MP, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury for two hours in Delhi. The former CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP, expelled by his party, Rwitobrata Bhattacharjee is also meeting Roy. Both Chowdhury and Bhattacharjee have vouched their help in any effort to overthrow the Trinamool Congress. But none is ready to join Roy as of now in his great, grand exit.

(Courtesy of Mail Today.)

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Romita Datta Romita Datta

The writer is Associate Editor, India Today.

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