The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is concerned about the impact of post-poll violence against its workers on its organisational strength, but officials familiar with the situation say the return of former Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders to the state’s ruling party poses no threat to the BJP’s growing clout in West Bengal.
The BJP, which won 77 seats with a 38 percent vote share in the state’s assembly elections in March and April, has emerged as the state’s primary opposition. In the 294-member assembly, neither the Congress nor the Left parties were able to secure a single seat.
Mukul Roy, the BJP’s national vice president, went back to the TMC on Friday without notifying the party’s high command. It’s possible that some other TMC politicians who defected to the BJP would return to the party. Last month, Sonali Guha, who joined the BJP in the run-up to the elections, expressed regret for her decision and expressed a desire to rejoin the TMC.
Even before the elections, a state leader who did not want to be identified stated the party unit was in “disarray.” “In the unit, there were disagreements concerning the state leadership. Many people who had been with the BJP for years, enduring harassment and violence, were disregarded when approximately 20 or so TMC turncoats were awarded contest tickets. The cadre was demoralised as a result of this. While some leaders acknowledge that the defections are unflattering, especially because the BJP has become as a strong rival in the state, they claim that defections are not the party’s biggest issue.