Sabyasachi Dutta (L) and Amit Shah
Sabyasachi Dutta (L) and Amit Shah

Exactly 37 days after the poll debacle in West Bengal, voices of dissent and uneasiness among (most) turncoats have made national headlines. In political parlance, the terms ‘Aayaram’ and ‘Gayaram’ are not new or shocking, but switching sides or even thinking and expressing views on the same in such a short time is unheard of.

The term ‘Bohiragoto’ (outsider) used by Mamata Banerjee during her whirlwind campaign, came true when turncoat leader Sabyasachi Dutta, at the closed-door working committee meeting of the BJP on Tuesday said language problem had been one of the main hurdles for the party during the assembly polls.

Spoken, not broken Bengali

“The BJP had to suffer mainly because among the star campaigners (except for Mithun Chakraborty) there wasn’t a single Bengali face and the language issue posed to be a major hurdle. The people of West Bengal would have obviously preferred Bengali as the medium of campaigning. Central leaders who came to campaign in the state, spoke in Hindi and broken Bengali. Speaking in a language fluently and reading out the same from a script makes a lot of difference,” he went on to say.

The BJP must go back to the drawing board and do some intense introspection on all the grey areas, which led them to such a debacle.

But they must also realise that for them, everything is not finished, yet. If they have come all the way from three seats in 2016 to 77 seats in 2021, they can obviously huddle together and sail ahead.

Time for cleansing

This is the time to cleanse the party and whoever wants to quit, should leave at once. Let the party be freed of ‘political opportunists’, and the faster it happens, it is best for the party to rejig itself and assess strengths and weaknesses. This kind of a situation is not new in Indian politics. The only shocking thing (but a plus point too) is that these turncoats have started talking and behaving in such a manner so soon. In the long run, neither the TMC, nor the BJP will suffer on account of these turncoats; the voters, who are the main deciders, will pluck them out of the system.

Even as the party spokesman said that Mukul Roy was disturbed with his wife’s illness, the recent moves of Junior Roy – Subhrangshu – Mukul’s son, ‘hobnobbing’ with TMC strongman Abhishek Banerjee had created a flutter in political circles.

'Work for the masses'

The less said about turncoat Rajib Banerjee, the better. Readers will remember how he had cried on camera saying he was exhausted in TMC and “wanted to work for the masses” but was not getting a chance to do so. And before one knew it, he had been heralded into the saffron fold by BJP’s ‘Chanakya’ Amit Shah himself, who had sent a chartered flight to ferry all the turncoats to Delhi.

On Tuesday, his outburst on social media against Suvendu Adhikari’s Delhi visit to seek the imposition of Article 356 was another high-voltage shock. He, in fact, did not mince his words nor did he issue a statement saying that he was misquoted by the media (which political leaders often do, at the drop of a hat) when he said that Bengali sentiment would be hurt if a government chosen through a whopping mandate were to be attacked in such a manner!

It is also strange that a party like BJP did not gauge the situation first, before inducting people and it has done so in utter haste. This move, instead, has done more harm to the party and raised questions on the political acumen of the think tank. It seems that the party was in a race and running out of time. Did the saffron camp, somewhere down the line feel that it was either now or never for them in Bengal? When people from the TMC were making a beeline to join the BJP, the saffron party should have kept this monologue in mind: ‘Nazdiki fayda dekhne se pehle … door ka nuksaan sochna chahiye!’


The writer is Senior Associate Editor, The Free Press Journal, Mumbai

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