A day after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Arjun Singh returned to Trinamool Congress (TMC), the party's West Bengal unit on May 23 held a brainstorming session to discuss how to keep its flock together and address grievances of the disgruntled leaders.
The closed door meeting at a hotel in Newtown was attended by State BJP president Sukanta Majumdar, Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Assembly Suvendu Adhikari, party's co-incharge Amit Malviya and other senior leaders.
"During the meeting a lot of issues were discussed. Senior leaders from our Barrackpore unit were also present. The issues discussed were related to leaders leaving the party and on how to fix the gaps," a senior State BJP leader said.
A year into its defeat in the State Assembly election, BJP is still struggling to come to grips with its inner party feuds between senior leaders and exodus as it stares at a bleak prospect.
"Those who wish to stay close to the seat of power might leave the party, but we need to stand by our dedicated party workers. If there are any genuine grievances those have to be addressed. We can't help if someone has made up his mind to quit the party," a senior State BJP leader said.
According to sources in BJP, Mr. Adhikari, who defeated Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram in the 2021 State poll, has been given the responsibility of the Barrackpore organisational district and he will hold a meeting on May 25.
Mr. Arjun Singh was elected to the Lok Sabha from Barrackpore on a BJP ticket in the last general election. According to State BJP sources, the State leadership is apprehending that his son Pawan, who is the BJP MLA from Bhatpara, might switch camps to TMC in future.
"It is quite natural that Mr. Pawan Singh will leave the party as his father has jumped the ship. Those who fought at the grassroots level in the State to take it from a party of just three MLAs to 77 MLAs are still with us. Few opportunist leaders are deserting us," BJP national Vice-President Dilip Ghosh said.
Speaking to reporters, Mr. Arjun Singh hit out at the saffron camp and said it has to shun its armchair politics. Mr. Singh also said that his son would soon follow in his footsteps and join TMC.
"BJP's presence is limited to Facebook and the social media. It is not bothered about building the organisation. BJP has lost its chance in Bengal. TMC will sweep next year's panchayat poll in the state and there will be no violence," Mr. Singh said.
Reacting to his comments, BJP State spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya mocked him saying, "Mr. Singh realized that BJP has no future after becoming an MP of the party.
"It only shows his (Singh's) lack of political understanding. By saying there won't be any violence during the panchayat poll he has virtually agreed that TMC resorts to strong arm tactics during elections," Mr. Bhattacharya said.
The State BJP unit has been fighting hard to keep its flock together after former union minister Babul Supriyo and five legislators, including its national vice-president Mukul Roy, switched over to the TMC since the assembly poll result last year.
Several senior TMC leaders like Rajib Banerjee and Sabyasachi Dutta, who had joined the saffron camp too had returned to the Mamata Banerjee-led party.