Factionalism in West Bengal BJP out in open as Amit Malviya sends legal notice over allegations

It’s not only allegations against Malviya that are exposing schisms within the West Bengal BJP, which was able to win 12 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal, whereas the TMC bagged 29 seats

Updated - June 10, 2024 10:49 pm IST

Published - June 10, 2024 09:27 pm IST - Kolkata

File photo of Amit Malviya

File photo of Amit Malviya

After the setback to its performance in the State in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election, factionalism in the West Bengal unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has split wide open, with the head of the party’s IT cell and State joint in-charge Amit Malviya sending a legal notice to the brother of a senior party leader, seeking an apology and ₹10 crore as damages.

Santanu Sinha, who says he is an activist of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), had posted on social media, alleging Mr. Malviya “indulged” in sexual exploitation of women.

“The nature of allegations are extremely offensive in as much as they falsely allege sexual misconduct purportedly committed by my client. The same is fatally injurious to the dignity and reputation of my client who, by virtue of his professional profile, is a public figure,” the notice issued by Mr. Malviya’s lawyer alleged. 

The development evoked strong reactions, not only in West Bengal but across the country. Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate raised the issue at a press conference on June 10.

Mr. Sinha was no ordinary person, Ms. Shrinate said, he was an RSS activist whose views should be taken seriously. Ms. Shrinate demanded that Mr. Malviya be sacked and an independent inquiry conducted into the allegations made by Mr. Sinha against Mr. Malviya. 

“An RSS member, Shantanu Sinha, related to BJP leader Rahul Sinha, has said that the BJP IT cell head Amit Malviya, indulged in nefarious activities, [that] he indulged in the sexual exploitation of women, not just in five-star hotels but in BJP offices in West Bengal,” Ms. Shrinate said.

The West Bengal BJP leadership, however, has placed all of its weight behind Mr. Malviya.

“The personal, political and social integrity of Amit Malviya is beyond question,” West Bengal BJP spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya said. Mr. Bhattacharya, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP, said that people might have differences with Mr. Malviya’s style of working, but it was wrong to question his personal integrity. 

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) leadership has also not lost the opportunity to highlight factionalism within the West Bengal unit of the BJP. “There are so many factions in the BJP — old faction versus new faction, Dilip faction versus Suvendu faction,” TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said.  

This isn’t the first time that such allegations have been made against senior BJP leaders. After the BJP’s loss in the 2021 Assembly election in West Bengal, senior BJP leader and former Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy had blamed the BJP leadership for spoiling the party’s chances in the Assembly election in pursuit of “kamini-kanchan (women and money)”.

It’s not only allegations against Mr. Malviya that are exposing schisms within the West Bengal BJP, which was able to win 12 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal, whereas the TMC bagged 29 seats. Former West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh, who lost from Bardhaman-Durgapur to the TMC’s Kirti Azad, has been regularly blaming “back biting” and the decision to change his Lok Sabha constituency for his defeat.

Meanwhile, the BJP’s Bishnupur Lok Sabha MP Soumitra Khan on Monday expressed his displeasure after being denied a berth in the Union Council of Ministers. Mr. Khan targeted State BJP president Sukanta Majumdar and said that Mr. Majumdar had been made State BJP president in his first term as MP, and inducted as a Minister of State after winning two terms, whereas he (Mr. Khan himself) was significantly senior to the Bengal BJP president in politics.

With the likelihood of a vacancy in the top post in the State BJP leadership as Mr. Majumdar has been inducted as a Minister of State in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet, the differences between rival factions of BJP are likely to become more pronounced.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.