Induction of leaders facing charges may backfire on BJP

BJP leaders Kailash Vijaivargiya and Mukul Roy join hands with two Trinamool Congress and one CPM legislator, who joined Bharatiya Janata Party. (PTI Photo)

The leadership of BJP’s Bengal unit is facing an odd predicament after the party’s success in the Lok Sabha elections. Although it has been trying to project itself as the crusader against the alleged corrupt practices of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) it has inducted several leaders of the ruling party in the state who are facing investigation in corruption cases.

It started with the induction of former TMC general secretary Mukul Roy and has now reached its peak with former TMC Minister Sovan Chatterjee joining the saffron party. Both have been questioned by the Central agencies in relation to cases such as the Sarada chit fund scam and the Narada sting operation. Ironically it was BJP which regularly attacked them regularly and dubbed them as “corrupt.” While Roy was questioned by CBI in the Saradha chit fund case Chatterjee was interrogated by ED in relation to the Narada sting operation case.

The induction of such leaders from TMC into the saffron party may blunt its corruption charges against TMC. The ruling party in the state, on the other hand, may use the issue to dub BJP’s corruption charges against it as instances of a double standard.

BJP’s woes is not just limited to heavyweight leaders such as Roy and Chatterjee its decision to induct TMC MLA Manirul Islam generated severe criticism against the party leadership as there are several criminal cases against him including orchestrating attacks on BJP workers.

The discontent against the induction of such leaders who are facing investigation is not just limited within the saffron party but the state leadership of RSS has also expressed its concerns over the issue. Such inductions without paying any heed to the concerned leader’s background are likely to cause severe organizational issues for a cadre base regimented party like BJP.

Although the state leadership faced protests from party workers for fielding such leaders in the Lok Sabha elections that have not brought any noticeable change to its defection strategy. Their only argument in defense of such inductions that the allegations against these leaders are yet to be proved has ruffled a lot of feathers in the party and may even cause voters who gave it 18 seats in Bengal to drift away.

“ If we have to induct TMC leaders against who have been questioned in corruption cases then the obvious question the voters and party workers will ask is that how are different from TMC?” a senior state BJP leader said.

BJP had a bitter experience with its defection tactics recently as TMC councilors of six municipalities returned to the party after defecting to BJP. The state BJP leadership were left red-faced as they lost effective control of six municipalities in such a manner.

A section of state BJP leaders is apprehensive that such regular inductions from other parties will have an adverse impact on the party’s prospect in the 2021 Assembly elections and may even end up benefiting TMC.

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