Infighting in Bengal BJP over ticket issue

Kolkata, Mar 22(AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 3/22/2019 1:02:09 PM IST

Infighting has broken out in the BJP in West Bengal after candidates for 28 of the state’s 42 constituencies were announced in Delhi last evening as part of the first list of nominees for the Lok Sabha seats across the country was released by the party.

In Cooch Behar, disgruntled party supporters ransacked the BJP’s district office after the name of Nishith Pramanik was announced as the candidate from the seat.

Irate BJP supporters have also put up posters in the district, threatening to press NOTA in the elections if Pramanik’s candidature is not revoked. The posters say that not a single vote will be cast for the “smuggler” in the name of BJP. “Either give us a candidate of our choice or we will press NOTA”, say the posters.

The latest BJP district committee meeting’s minutes were also leaked today. A resolution adopted in the meeting said that “nobody was happy with the candidature of Nishith Pramanik who did not have a very clean image”. “It would be better if Deepak Burman was made the candidate because in that case BJP would most certainly win the elections from Cooch Behar”, the resolution said and urged the party’s central and state leaderships to replace Pranmanik with Burman.

In Malda North, too, BJP supporters are protesting against the candidature of Khagen Murmu who switched to BJP from CPI(M). Having had a long history of animosity with the CPI(M), which was in power in the state for over three decades, BJP supporters are not comfortable with the idea of an erstwhile CPI(M) member getting the party ticket.

Posters have also appeared in Basirhat bordering Bangladesh where Sayantan Basu has been given the ticket. Though Basu is a party veteran, local BJP supporters are opposing him, saying he is an “outsider”. Posters saying, “We do not want an outsider. Only a local man should be the candidate” can be seen at various points in Basirhat. Some posters have Basu’s name and photograph with a red line across over it.

Posters have also cropped up in Bongaon where the BJP has not even declared a candidate yet. The posters warn the party against giving ticket to any defector from another party and says that “otherwise the BJP supporters will vote for the TMC candidate”.

There are six newcomers in the BJP list for West Bengal. Khagen Murmu former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh (Ghatal), and four from the Trinamool camp, namely, Arjun Singh (Barrackpore), Anupam Hazra (Jadavpur), Saumitra Khan (Bishnupur) and Nishith Pramanik.

BJP national president Amit Shah wants the party to win 23 seats out of the 42. The party had won only two seats in 2014 but expected to do much better this time.


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