‘No Place for Old-Timers’: Bengal BJP District President Joins TMC
Ganga Prasad Sharma was the BJP President of Alipurduar, a district in which the party had won all Assembly seats.
In a fresh setback for the Bharatiya Janata Party in West Bengal, the president of a district in which the saffron party had won all five Assembly seats, switched to the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress on Monday, 21 June, reported news agency ANI.
Joining TMC in the presence of BJP-returnee Mukul Roy, Ganga Prasad Sharma, the BJP chief in north Bengal’s Alipurduar, alleged that old timers do not have a place in BJP. He added that Kailash Vijayvargiya was responsible for the saffron party’s loss in Bengal.
“Old party workers don’t have a proper place in BJP. There were differences in the decision-making process. Two-three persons distributed tickets, Kailash Vijayvargiya being one of them. He’s answerable for party’s defeat and current condition. He should resign as the General Secretary.”Ganga Prasad Sharma.
"This is beginning of end,” Roy stated.
Who is Ganga Prasad Sharma?
The BJP's base in the district saw exponential growth under the leadership of Sharma, who will be the first major leader from the national party to switch sides after the polls.
Under his leadership, the party won in all five Assembly segments in Alipurduar during the recently-concluded Assembly elections.
He had also presided over the party when the BJP won the Alipurduar Lok Sabha seat in 2019.
Sharma’s switch to the TMC comes after MP Jon Barla appeared to speak in favour of a separate state for districts in north Bengal.
BJP MP's Demand for Bifurcation
On 15 June, Barla met with several BJP MPs and raised the demand to form a Union Territory, which would comprise of several districts of North Bengal.
News agency PTI quoted Barla as saying, "I made the demand... There have been movements here for a separate Kamtapuri, a greater Cooch Behar and for Gorkhaland."
Meanwhile, on Monday, BJP MP Soumitra Khan said that in western regions of Bengal, a statehood movement is taking shape in Jangalmahal and penetrating into the districts of Birbhum, Burdwan, Asansol, East and West Midnapore, NDTV reported.
The West Bengal administration, which is witness to the decades-old agitation for Gorkhaland, is no stranger to the separatist demands and has issued a strong response to these recent demands.
TMC leaders have filed multiple FIR's in Cooch Behar and its adjoining districts, against Barla for his calls of division, The Hindu reported. The complaints allege that the MP's comments have resulted in a deteriorating law and order situation in the state.
TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh has referred to these demands as an "irresponsible gameplan by the BJP", NDTV reported.
TMC minister Partha Chatterjee took to Twitter and expressed disbelief at the demands, saying “Absolutely shocked at how @BJP4Bengal leaders are repeatedly hunting for opportunities to create chaos in the state. They are simply unable to accept the mandate given by the people of Bengal. Dividing us is impossible.”
Chief Minster Mamata Banerjee has also castigated the national party over the matter, saying that she will not let Bengal "lose its freedom and be dependent on New Delhi."
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