Has the Bengal BJP become self-destructive?

Rahul Sinha is dropped in reshuffle, replaced by ex-AITC Anupam Hazra

Image Courtesy:oneindia.com

In a major reshuffle in West Bengal, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has replaced Rahul Sinha as national general secretary. To add salt to Sinha’s wounds, he has been replaced by Anupam Hazra, who was previously with the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC).

Sinha, who has been with the party for four decades was shocked and hurt by the sudden and unceremonious move. He took to Twitter in a video message saying, “I have served the BJP for 40 years. And how have I been rewarded? I have been replaced by someone who has come from Trinamool Congress!”

He added, “There is no greater misfortune than this. I will say nothing further. As far as my ‘reward’ from the party, I will respond in 10-12 days with my future plan of action.”

The tweet containing the video may be viewed here:


He has also changed his Twitter bio to read, “Ex-National Secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party.”

His replacement Anupam Hazra has served as Trinamool MP from Bolpur, which is currently an AITC stronghold. Hazra had been jettisoned from the AITC in January 2019. After joining the BJP he contested elections from Jadhavpur, but was trounced by AITC’s Mimi Chakraborty.

Meanwhile, Bolpur was in the news recently when in August, 2020, AITC members allegedly vandalised property at Rabindranath Tagore’s Vishwa Bharati University. The entire area including the wider Birbhum district, has a history of communal violence. The rivalry between AITC and BJP has been growing stronger too.

However, the most interesting reaction to Sinha’s video came from none other than Chandra Kumar Bose.


Chandra Kumar Bose is the grand-nephew of freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose and had in June 2020, been dumped unceremoniously by the Bengal BJP from the rank of Vice President, purportedly to teach him a lesson for his vocal views on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Kumar had, in January, told Mumbai Mirror, “Had Netaji and Mahatma Gandhi been alive, they would not have supported Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).” He had also appealed for greater inclusion of Muslims saying, “Why are we alienating the Muslims? Muslims should be given mainstream education, enabling and equipping them with knowledge which is beyond Madrasa education.”

After he was chastened and demoted in June, Bose did not utter a peep about the party’s senior most leaders. Interestingly, even he was replaced by an ex-AITC member Arjun Singh, an MP from Barrackpore and a political veteran from the communally sensitive Bhatpara region.

Meanwhile, the BJP is busy setting its house in order for the 2021 assembly elections. While party-lines tend to become porous amidst such times enabling party leaders to explore greener political pastures, BJP has been on a shopping spree for ex-AITC members, hoping to exploit their existing political capital. However, this has not gone down well with long time loyalists like Sinha. Therefore, this strategy of rewarding new entrants from rival parties at the expense of promoting loyalists could backfire for the Bengal BJP.  

It is noteworthy that the AITC had delivered body blows to the BJP during crucial byelections in November 2019. This was the time when the BJP perhaps suffered its most humiliating defeat in the state. AITC was successful wresting back control of Kharagpur Sadar from the clutches of the BJP, especially since it was the constituency of BJP state chief Dilip Ghosh. The main reason BJP lost the byelections was because of their inability to read what the electorate was saying not just about CAA and NRC, but about the politics of hate.

West Bengal has long been a cherished dream for the BJP. The CAA-factor has however, been misread and misused by the party’s leadership to further their agenda in the state. In March this year, Amit Shah had paid Kolkata a visit, and tried to build support for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). In his speech he squarely blamed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for scaring minorities by misleading them about CAA. He accused Banerjee of “triggering riots” and “burning trains”. He also accused Mamata Banerjee of neglecting “Sharanaarthi” (refugees) facing persecution, and caring only about “Ghuspethiye” (infiltrators), thereby demarcating migrants along communal lines.

But in doing so, the BJP has displayed a myopia that could prove to be the party’s undoing in a state where people strive every day to uphold the ‘bhadra’ in ‘bhadralok’, and remain committed to a syncretic Bengali culture that has drawn equally from Tagore and Nazrul.


Amit Shah’s venomous vitriol and political myopia in West Bengal
Was Netaji’s kin dropped from BJP VP post for stand against CAA-NRC?



Related Articles