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Dissension over candidates: BJP workers’ protest singes party, Shah returns to Kolkata

Senior party leaders Shiv Prakash, Mukul Roy and Arjun Singh were heckled by a section of irate party workers who were demanding change in party candidates of several Assembly seats. Angry party workers even tried to break into the party office but were stopped by police.

Written by Santanu Chowdhury | Kolkata |
Updated: March 16, 2021 7:59:50 am
Dissension over candidates: BJP workers' protest singes party, Shah returns to KolkataThe protests forced Union Home Minister Amit Shah to change his schedule as he flew down to Kolkata from Guwahati on Monday to hold talks with party leaders.

For the second consecutive day, hundreds of BJP workers protested outside the party headquarters in Kolkata’s Hastings area, expressing displeasure over the selection of candidates.

Senior party leaders Shiv Prakash, Mukul Roy and Arjun Singh were heckled by a section of irate party workers who were demanding change in party candidates of several Assembly seats. Angry party workers even tried to break into the party office but were stopped by police.

 

The protests forced Union Home Minister Amit Shah to change his schedule as he flew down to Kolkata from Guwahati on Monday to hold talks with party leaders. He was scheduled to return to Delhi from Guwahati. BJP national president JP Nadda, who is scheduled to campaign in the state on Tuesday, reached Kolkata on Monday night to attend the meeting. Sources said that the party’s leadership is trying to sort out differences arising out of candidates’ selection.

“Some workers have expressed their displeasure over the selection of candidates. We have listened to their grievances and have sent a report to the central leadership. Now, they will take a call on this,” said party MP Arjun Singh.

In Hooghly district, party workers went on a rampage and vandalised the district BJP office. Workers revolted against party candidates Locket Chatterjee from Chuchura, Samiran Mitra from Haripal, former TMC leaders Rabindranath Bhattacharya, who has been nominated from Singur, and Prabir Ghoshal from Uttarpara.

Hours after the BJP released its candidate list for the third and fourth phases of the West Bengal Assembly polls on Sunday, old-timers who were benched expressed their anguish for giving preference to newcomers, while some – Sovan Chatterjee and his associate Baishakhi Banerjee — decided to quit the party after being denied tickets.

 

BJP’s Alipurduar district president Ganga Prasad Sharma revolted against party candidates Ashok Lahiri (Alipurduar) and Bishal Lama (Kalchini) saying that the district leadership was not consulted before their selection. Today Sharma resigned from his posts.

Since Monday morning, BJP workers staged protests at regular intervals revolting against central leadership. They demanded candidates be changed from Panchla and Udaynarayanpur seats in Howrah, Raidighi, Joynagar, Canning Paschim and Diamond Harbour seats in South 24 Parganas district and Singur, Uttarpara and Haripal seats in Hooghly district.

Around a hundred BJP supporters in Raidighi Assembly segment of South 24 Parganas held demonstrations all day in protest against the nomination of TMC defector Santanu Bapuli. “He was involved in attacks mounted on us, he had tried to crush the BJP,” a party supporter said.

Criticising the BJP for failing to control the protests, TMC MP Mahua Moitra tweeted, “Loving this slow unfolding of the WB BJP Candidate List soap opera. When “largest global political party” lacks enough faces & strength to announce 294 names in one go for a state it claims it will sweep!”

TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh ridiculed the BJP for ignoring the contribution of old-timers to make way for the TMC turncoats. “It was evident from the candidate list that the BJP is struggling to find leaders to contest the polls. Firstly, it fielded sitting MPs and a Union minister then it prioritised the TMC turncoats. It is obvious that old-timers who helped build the party and fought with us were hoping for recognition. Now, they are expressing their anger against the party which is understandable,” he said.

(With PTI inputs)

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