Was Netaji’s kin dropped from BJP VP post for stand against CAA-NRC?

Chandra Kumar Bose had also lost two elections by wide margins

Chandra Kumar Bose

The West Bengal BJP has dropped Chandra Kumar Bose as one of its Vice Presidents, leading the grand-nephew of freedom fighter Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose to speculate that it might have been due to his stand against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

He told the Indian Express, “How can they segregate Muslims like this? Netaji’s ideology never said that. He formed the Azad Hind Fauj with participation from all religions. So, I opposed the CAA-NRC.” He added, “But it seems my suggestions did not go down well with Central leaders.”

In January this year, Bose had openly criticized the CAA. He had 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.”

While Bose himself admits that his winnability might have taken a beating and that he had lost two key elections in 2016 and 2019, one wonders if the same would apply to other high-profile leaders of the parties who suffered humiliating defeats as well. Bose had lost the Kolkata South seat by a whopping margin of 1.5 lakh votes. But then state BJP Chief Dilip Ghosh’s magic also vanished in Kharagpur Sadar when the TMC won the constituency during by-elections necessitated there after Ghosh became a Member of Parliament. Ghosh however remains state BJP president.

The state BJP is gearing up for crucial assembly elections next year and has undertaken a reshuffle of sorts. It has elevated former All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) member Arjun Singh to the post of state Vice President. Singh is the MP from Barrackpore and a political veteran from the communally sensitive Bhatpara region.

Singh, had quit the AITC and joined the BJP in March 2019. In June last year, Bhatpara, a constituency from where Singh was elected MLA four times when he was a member of the AITC, witnessed communal conflagration. In September 2019, Singh who suffered a head injury allegedly during clashes with AITC members at 24 Parganas, alleged that Mamata Banerjee was behind the attempt on his life. In May this year, he once again alleged, in a letter to Governor Jagdeep Dhankar, that Banerjee was using the state police to assassinate him.

BJP has 12 Vice Presidents in West Bengal now. Apart from Arjun Singh, other VPs are Subhash Sarkar, Bishwapriya Roy Chowdhury, Pratap Banerjee, Rajkamal Pathak, Bapi Mitra, Ritesh Tiwari, Jay Prakash Mazumdar, Anindya Banerjee, Dipen Pramanik, Bharati Ghosh and Mafuza Khatoon. State general secretaries are Locket Chatterjee, Sayantan Basu, Jyotirmoy Mahato, Sanjay Singh and Rathindranth Basu.

But despite being dumped unceremoniously, Bose told the Indian Express, that he does not subscribe to “Mamata Banerjee’s politics of Muslim appeasement” and that “Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah are tall leaders of the BJP. I have no comments on them.”

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