Tathagata Roy’s Tirade Reveals Simmering Dissension in Bengal BJP

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The loss in the West Bengal assembly elections has laid bare rifts in the Bharatiya Janata Party. Even as Trinamool Congress chairperson and victorious chief minister Mamata Banerjee is putting together her cabinet to confront the challenges of the pandemic and a wave of post-poll violence, senior BJP leader Tathagata Roy has launched a blistering attack on the “foursome” of his party’s Bengal unit chief Dilip Ghosh, national general secretary and state incharge Kailash Vijayvargiya, national secretary Arvind Menon, and national joint general secretary (organisation) Shivprakash.

“Kailash-Dilip-Shiv-Arvind (KDSA) foursome have dragged names of our respected Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and Home Minister (Amit Shah) through mud and have sullied the name of the biggest political party in the world. Sitting atop Agarwal Bhavan of Hastings (Bengal BJP’s election headquarter) and 7-star hotels, they have distributed tickets to incoming garbage from Trinamool Congress. Now faced with abuse from party workers they’re staying put there, hoping the storm will blow over,” Tathagata Roy tweeted on Thursday. “These people have heaped the worst possible insults on ideologically driven BJP workers and devout Swayamsevaks who had been relentlessly working for the party since 1980s. Now those very people are suffering the worst persecution from Trinamoolis. But KDSA won’t go to their rescue, won’t even exhort them to fight back. Instead they are trying to draw comfort from having raised BJP’s tally from 3 to 77.”

Roy’s outburst underscores the simmering dissension in the BJP state unit that was stirred by the party welcoming into its fold and promoting a string of turncoats from the TMC and other outfits as well as some film stars ahead of the elections, with many of them getting picked as candidates over dyed-in-the-wool hopefuls. There has also been speculation of some BJP nominees losing the polls because of sabotage by disgruntled party workers. The results for the tumultuous eight-phase elections announced on May 2 saw the incumbent TMC emerge victorious with a massive 213 of the 292 seats available. The Bharatiya Janata Party that had pulled out all stops to win the key state finished second with 77 seats.

“A substandard, uninspired, mercenary bunch of people with no political insight, no analytical abilities, no sense of Bengali sensitivities. Education up to Class VIII and a fitter mistri’s certificate. What do you expect?” wrote Roy in his string of tweets. “Some ask why don’t I blame the central leadership? A central leadership in a country of 1.3 billion has to be briefed by the state leadership who are just clueless. Now I apprehend two exoduses from the state BJP. First of course is of the garbage who came from Trinamool and will now go back. The second may be the old Karyakartas of BJP. Unless they see signs of reform within the party they will also leave. And that will be the end of the party in West Bengal.”

Roy, who has been governor of Tripura, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, was the president of the BJP’s West Bengal unit from 2002 to 2006 and has a long association with the party’s ideological mentor, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He is known for making controversial comments on social media and off it. His younger brother Saugata Roy is a Lok Sabha MP from the Trinamool Congress, representing the Dum Dum constituency, and was union minister of state for urban development in the Manmohan Singh government.

“In the depths of my frustration, I think of my icons Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay. How they had suffered, and compared to that what is my suffering! And the thoughts of PP Doctorji and Guruji. Such thoughts, such suffering will not go in vain. Never!” Tathagata Roy tweeted.

He later posted that he had been asked by the party’s national leadership to come to Delhi.

Roy had met Dilip Ghosh and Kailash Vijayvargiya last year, expressing his desire to work for the party and adding that the priority should be to defeat the TMC government in the assembly polls. However, he did not play any noticeable part in the campaigning or electoral exercise. Earlier this month, he had launched another Twitter attack on the Tollywood celebrities accommodated by the BJP ahead of the polls, calling them “politically stupid”.

Actress Paayel Sarkar, who lost the polls from the Behala (East) seat as a BJP candidate, responded to Roy’s tirade on the microblogging site. “I know I had nothing to do with politics before but no one is born a politician, even you. It’s a passion that we follow. @BJP4Bengal @BJP4India had put their trust in me & I did whatever in my capability to not let the people of Behala (East) down. The results might not be in our favour but we did put in hard work under the guidance of @narendramodi ji, @KailashOnline ji, @SuvenduWB da, @AmitShah ji, @DilipGhoshBJP da. This might look stupid to you sir but these tweets from ur verified twitter profile purely shows class,” she tweeted on May 4.

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