Trouble broke out at a BJP’s party meeting at Ghosuri in Howrah on Sunday after two groups within the party clashed with each other over the selection of candidature of Roopa Ganguly who is contesting the election from Howrah North.
The incident comes as a major embarrassment for the BJP as one of the faction within the party revolted against the party’s decision to select Roopa Ganguly as a candidate.
Incidentally, the incident happened on the same day when senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj was in the state to join an election rally in Durgapur. During her campaign, Swaraj sounded optimistic that the party will perform well in the forthcoming Assembly election.
While addressing a gathering she talked about a “sweeping current” in favour of BJP which has been prevailing across the state, as she claimed.
“There is a strong undercurrent in favour of BJP in the state which might not meet the eyes of other political parties,” she said.
But Sunday’s incident that happened in Howrah few hours before Swaraj’s visit in the state does not really endorse this view. Since the announcement of the candidature, there was a strong resentment among some workers within the BJP as their local leader Ramesh was not given a ticket to contest the election from North Howrah.
But the internal feud within the party on Sunday took an ugly turn when two groups clashed with each other in front of the candidate.
The party meeting was organized at Shyam Garden in Ghosuri. When Ganguly reached the spot the two groups, one headed by Videsh Sonkar and the other by Umesh Rai who was a strong contender for this North Howrah assembly seat were present. After the meeting started at around 10 am Goutam Singh Rajput who was the party’s central observer for this seat called the two party leaders Bidesh Sonkar and Bharat Bhusan Ojha on the stage.
Umesh Rai and his follower who were near the stage started raising slogans against the others who were on the stage.
Both the groups engaged in a clash in which some party supporters from each side were injured. Rai allegedly beat up Videsh with a bamboo.
A scribe who was capturing photos was also injured in the incident. Videsh with several injuries all over his body was taken to a nearby private hospital.
Umesh said that they were protesting as Sonkar and Ojha were called on the stage as they were expelled from the party for acting against the party’s will, he claimed. He also threatened to stay away from the election after the incident.
“Ganguly who has been selected as the candidate is an outsider and will not be able to stand beside the local residents at the time of crisis. If we win or lose she will go back to her original place where she had been from. We want to stay away from the party activities as we cannot accept what is going on here,” Rai said.
Whereas Ganguly said: “It was nothing new. Sometimes there was some resentment among the party workers. Everything will be settled with time and we will put up a united fight.”