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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Rift in Bengal BJP: Union Minister exits party WhatsApp groups

Though the state BJP leadership is tight-lipped over the issue, sources said that Thakur, who represents Bongaon Lok Sabha seat and is a Matua community leader, is unhappy over the “lack representation of Matua leaders” in the state and district committees of the party which was recently reconstituted.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
Updated: January 5, 2022 3:59:55 pm
Santanu Thakur with Union Home Amit Shah ahead of Assembly polls last year. (File)

Ahead of the visit of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president JP Nadda to West Bengal to iron out differences in the party’s state unit, Union Minister of State Santanu Thakur on Tuesday said that he left various WhatsApp groups of the party.

Though the state BJP leadership is tight-lipped over the issue, sources said that Thakur, who represents Bongaon Lok Sabha seat and is a Matua community leader, is unhappy over the “lack representation of Matua leaders” in the state and district committees of the party which was recently reconstituted.

“I will not like to comment on my leaving the WhatsApp groups right now. Let the right time come, I will tell you the reason for my actions and my future plans,” Thakur, who holds the portfolio of MoS Ports, Shipping and Waterways, told mediapersons on Tuesday.

In recent weeks, nine BJP MLAs have left the party’s WhatsApp groups expressing their discontent over the new state committee formed by the party.

On December 25, five MLAs — Mukutmoni Adhikari, Subrata Thakur, Ambica Roy, Asok Kirtania and Asim Sarkar left several WhatsApp groups of the party expressing their displeasure over their exclusion from the state committee. Most of them belong to the Matua community.

A day later, four MLAs from Bankura district — Amarnath Sakha, Dibakar Ghorami, Niladri Sekhar Dana and Nirmal Dhara — also left the party’s WhatsApp groups.

Later, some of them rejoined the party’s WhatsApp groups after senior party leaders initiated talks with them.

Sources said that the state committee, which was revamped after the party’s debacle in the Kolkata civic polls last month, lacks Matua faces. Also, even in organisational leadership in district units where Matua voters are in majority, the names of the leaders from the community were absent.

Santanu Thakur is also a leader of the All India Matua Mahasangha, a religious and cultural organisation of the community.

“It is an internal matter of the party. We will talk to him and resolve any issue which he may be facing,” said state BJP chief Sukanta Majumder.

BJP national president JP Nadda is likely to visit the state on January 9, while Amit Shah is scheduled to come to the state in the last week of January. The dates, however, have not been finalised yet.

Following the party’s defeat in the Assembly polls last year, following by its rout in the Kolkata civic polls, the Bengal unit of BJP has faced dissension with the exit of several big leaders.

Meanwhile, the ruling TMC accused the BJP of dividing people and using it for political benefits. “BJP has always divided people and used them. They have played politics with the Matua community,” state Forests Minister Jyotipriyo Mullick said reacting to the development in rival BJP.

Matuas belong to the Namasudra community that migrated to India during the Partition in 1947 and after the Bangladesh war of 1971. Matuas, which has over one crore population in West Bengal at present, has a strong presence in 26 Assembly seats in the state. Matuas are mostly located in Bongaon and Barasat areas of North 24 Parganas, and Krishnanagar and Ranaghat areas in Nadia district.

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