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Can Bengal BJP swallow Nadda's prescription for state unit's revival?

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<br>Political observers feel that Nadda’s suggestions, which are extremely logical in the current political perspective of West Bengal, will be difficult propositions for the state leadership to implement unless they act in a more structured and united manner, allowing the "suspicious" elements to be weeded out automatically from the organizational set up.

The most important suggestion from Nadda was that the state BJP leaders should refrain from making separate statehood demands in West Bengal, especially a separate statehood demand for North Bengal, since such demands often prove to be counter-productive for the party in other areas of the state.

An expert on north Bengal and northeastern India, Nirmalya Banerjee feels that however logical this suggestion from Nadda might be, it is still doubtful whether all state BJP leaders, especially those from north Bengal, would follow it in its true spirit.

"In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, there was an overall wave in favour of the BJP scattered over north Bengal and south Bengal. It is since then that the demands of separate statehood for north Bengal started coming from various BJP leaders from north Bengal, especially the party’s Lok Sabha members John Barla and Jayanta Roy from Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri constituencies respectively," Banerjee pointed out.

He added that in the 2021 state assembly elections, the BJP wave remained almost intact in north Bengal especially in the hills and the Terai-Dooars regions, while it floundered substantially in other pockets of the state.

"Now having kept the wave intact in north Bengal in 2021, the elected BJP Lok Sabha members and MLAs from north Bengal more aggressively pushed forward their separate statehood demands, which often caused embarrassment to the party leadership elsewhere in the state. Now here comes the biggest question on whether these north Bengal leaders will follow Nadda’s suggestion or continue with their separate statehood demands?" Banerjee questioned.

The second suggestion that the BJP’s national president gave to the state party leaders was that the latter should develop mass movements in the state keeping the state imperatives in mind and not replicating BJP strategies in other states.

According to political analyst Rajagopal Dhar Chakraborty, the BJP’s movements on any state-based issue always had a subtle Hindutva cover.

"The BJP leadership in West Bengal had hardly been that active in hitting the streets on other state-related issues than they had been on the issue of a series of communal riots in West Bengal like the Basirhat-Baduria riots in 2017 and the Asansol riots in 2018. The BJP leaders probably thought that a campaign on these religious issues will give them long-term positive results as happened in many other states. But that did not really happen, as was evident in the 2021 West Bengal assembly polls results. So Nadda has rightly advised the state leadership to organize mass movements on state-specific issues. At the same time, I personally feel that the BJP leadership should coin some popular Bengal-specific slogans getting out of their over dependence on slogans like ‘Ek hi Nara, ek hi naam, Jai Sri Ram Jai Sri Ram," he said.

The third suggestion from Nadda was that the state BJP leadership should stop its excessive dependence on the centre, be it in solving factional infighting or resisting attacks from ruling Trinamool Congress activists.

A state BJP leader told Ajit Weekly News on condition of anonymity that the party’s national president appeared quite displeased over different factional leaders regularly approaching the party high command with complaints against the rival faction leaders. "The message from our national president was clear that we will have to fight our own battles at the grassroots level in the state and no one from outside will win the battle for us. This was a message clear enough that we should get over our own differences through mutual discussions among ourselves without involving the party high command. The message was also clear that we should frame our own state-specific strategies instead of always looking at the high command to do that for us," the state committee member said.

–Ajit Weekly News<br>src/bg

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