Politically stupid celebs given tickets: Tathagata
KOLKATA: Former state president of BJP, Tathagata Roy, sparked off controversy with a tweet in which he blamed Kailash Vijayvargiya, Dilip Ghosh and Arvind Menon for the party's poll debacle in Bengal. Roy questioned as to why tickets were given to 'politically stupid' celebrity candidates, who went on a steamer trip with Trinamool Congress leader Madan Mitra less than a month before the elections. His tweet created a furore within the party.
The tweet left the state leadership embarrassed at a time when JP Nadda, national president of the party, would hold a two-day meeting to analyse the party's poor performance.
"Film and TV actors who never had anything to do with politics, let alone BJP, were handed tickets by BJP's election management team. Parno Mitra (Baranagar), Srabanti Chatterjee (Behala West), Payel Sarkar (Behala East). These women were so politically stupid that they had gone on a steamer trip with TMC's playboy-politician Madan Mitra less than a month before elections and shot selfies with him. All were roundly defeated. What great qualities were these women possessed of? Kailash Vijayvargiya, Dilip Ghosh & Co must answer," he tweeted.
In another tweet, he regretted for mistakenly naming Parno Mittra and corrected himself by replacing Mittra's name with Tanushree Chakraborty. The central leadership had nominated these candidates and took part in road shows to campaign for them. All of them were defeated.
"It must not be forgotten that a BJP electoral ticket carries with it substantial money for running the election. Or for other purposes!" Roy tweeted further. Reacting to the tweet, actor Srabanti Chatterjee said Roy should prove that she had misused the election fund allotted to her.
Madan Mitra, Trinamool leader who was caught spending time with these actors in the selfie, said: "Be rest assured, next time a seat on the boat will be allotted to him (Roy). These actors are daughters of the soil and not outsiders."
Meanwhile, party's veteran leaders preferring anonymity said poor organisation, over-dependence on Delhi leadership and conflict between the old and new party workers led to the disaster.
In the past five years, the state BJP leadership did not make any attempt to strengthen the party base. An initiative to induct new members was made in 2017.
It was decided that a person could become a member of the party by sending a text message. It was also decided that the party leadership would provide intense training to the new members in election engineering and sessions would be held to impart the party's ideology to them. However, it did not take off.
Party insiders said from 2018 the intervention of the leaders increased and the membership drive took a back seat. In 2019, the BJP got 18 seats in Lok Sabha. The central leadership gave a message that the party's success in the election was due to the efforts of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. The latter held meetings with the state leadership and never insisted that organisation in Bengal should be strengthened.
In 2021, the central leadership took over and the state leaders had been assigned only to receive and see off the central leadership, the party insiders said. Modi and Shah held more than 62 meetings and rallies while the other leaders including the Cabinet ministers took part in 117 meetings. The leaders had expressed satisfaction seeing the gathering.
The insiders said on the day of the election the weakness of the party got exposed. In Kolkata and other districts, getting polling and counting agents became a major problem for the saffron camp.