Barely months before the crucial 2024 Lok Sabha elections, infighting within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in West Bengal took an ugly turn on Wednesday when alleged supporters of the state president Sukanta Majumdar and state organising secretary Amitava Chakraborty broke the stage from which the party’s national secretary Anupam Hazra was to address party supporters.
BJP central leader Anupam Hazra was supposed to hold a meeting in Birbhum’s Khoirashol, but before the meeting started, a section of BJP workers vandalized the stage and broke the chairs in full view of media cameras.
In the evening, Hazra told The Daily Guardian Review: “This attack on the stage was done by the supporters of district president Dhruba Saha and MLA Anup Saha who were acting on the instructions of state president Sukanta Majumdar and state organising secretary Amitava Chakraborty. I was supposed to address the gathering of BJP karyakartas at the Bijoya Sammelani. But had I reached on time, I would have been targeted personally.”
He alleged that he had voiced his apprehension about his personal safety in a Facebook Live session in the morning itself and said that he was anticipating more attacks and feared for his life.
He also claimed that he had informed BJP party president Jagat Prakash Nadda about the turn of events and had demanded strict action against the perpetrators and their “political godfathers”. Anupam Hazra, who was moved to Delhi as the national secretary of the BJP, had been tasked to rejuvenate party workers and provide a correct and unbiased picture of true state of affairs to the party’s top central leadership. BJP sources said that, however, this seems to have antagonised large sections of the party’s state leaders with whom Hazra had never had comfortable relations.
In the past few months, Anupam Hazra’s statements before media and supporters have created a lot of controversy. It is also reported that the state BJP leadership has lodged a complaint with the central BJP against Hazra.
On the other hand, Anupam Hazra also made various allegations against a section of the state and district leadership. He went live on Facebook about this on Wednesday morning and when several people expressed their anger against the State leaders, Anupam said that even though he was a central leader of the BJP who was specifically sent to Bengal by BJP president Nadda, he was not invited to any state BJP meeting or function. If invited, it was timed in such a way that the ceremony would get over before he arrived, he remarked.
Hazra also expressed apprehensions about the state of affairs within the party and wondered if state president Sukanta Majumdar would be able to retain his own Lok Sabha seat in the 2024 general elections. Shamik Chakraborty, state spokesperson of the BJP, refused to comment on remarks made by “a central leader” but said that “this kind of behaviour was not expected nor desirable in a disciplined party like ours”.
Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh likened the visit of Anupam Hazra to a “circus which comes to town in the winter,” and without naming Hazra who was a Trinamool MP earlier, said: “the BJP is now feeling the pain of having a madman in their midst.”