West Bengal: Dissent in Alipurduar BJP after MP calls for statehood | Kolkata News – Times of India


JALPAIGURI: BJP’s Alipurduar unit on Sunday was gripped by rumblings of dissent, a day after local party MP John Barla spoke in favour of a separate state for north Bengal districts. In the recently-concluded Bengal polls, Alipurduar, apart from Darjeeling, was the only district in which BJP won all five assembly segments, reversing a statewide trend.
While the state BJP attempted to pull out all stops to prevent many district unit leaders from switching over to Trinamool Congress, the latter party’s leaders, echoing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah before polls, claimed BJP “will soon cease to exist in Bengal”.
Until reports last came in, BJP’s Alipurduar president Ganga Prasad Sharma was leading the dissenters, who include Birendra Bara Oraon, the party’s district general secretary. It is largely believed they are with four more party karyakartas. While some reports suggested that they may defect on Monday, no formal confirmation was available.
Sharma could not be reached on the phone.
Senior Trinamool leader Saurav Chakraborty said: “Any decision to this effect will only be taken by the party leadership.” He added that “at this pace, BJP will cease to exist in Bengal”.
Trinamool, meanwhile, lodged a complaint at Dinhata police station on Sunday against Barla for trying to create unrest in north Bengal.
Trinamool’s district president Bablu Kar went a little further and said “Ganga Prasad and others are against division of Bengal and hence are not ready to continue with a party that eyes at segregating north Bengal. Many more BJP leaders have contacted us”.
BJP’s Alipurduar MLA Suman Kanjilal, however, claimed Ganga Prasad’s reasons to “possibly defect” were “personal and not political”. “His term as district president is about to end around Pujas and hence he may have decided to switch over. He thought that maybe TMC will give him a position.”
Kanjilal added “he (Sharma) was unhappy after being denied MLA ticket from Alipurduar” and claimed all five district MLAs were “with BJP”.
But sensing the unease in the district units, Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said: “People in north Bengal have always been neglected. BJP does not believe in divisive politics and wants development of the entire state. But the neglect over decades has brought frustration in the people of north Bengal. That has prompted some to speak like that.”
He added: “We are, however, not bogged down by that frustration. Divisive politicians such as Bimal Gurung are still with Trinamool. We will convince people of the region to keep the state undivided and fight for the rights of the people.”
Barla had on Saturday again floated the demand for making north Bengal a separate state or a Union Territory, drawing flak from political parties such as Trinamool and Congress. The political opposition prompted the Bengal BJP president to distance himself from the MP’s remark, saying it was not BJP’s “official” view.


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