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Roopa Ganguly's Rajya Sabha nomination exposes Bengal BJP's internal feud

Sulagna Sengupta | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:46 IST

Actor-politician Roopa Ganguly's nomination to the Rajya Sabha has set the cat among the pigeons in the West Bengal BJP.

Ganguly, the president of the BJP's state Mahila Morcha and star of the TV show Mahabharat from the 1980s, was nominated by the Centre this week in place of Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had resigned from the membership of the Rajya Sabha and the BJP.

Internal feud

The party's state chief Dilip Ghosh has attributed Ganguly's nomination (under the special achievers' category) to her fame as an actor. However, other leaders feel that Ghosh himself recommended Ganguly's name in order to sideline other prominent leaders like Rahul Sinha, the party's national secretary, and Shamik Bhattacharya.

There's buzz that some senior leaders are miffed that Ganguly didn't discuss with them how she would project issues at the biggest forum in the country.

Others feel that the BJP's internal feuds only increased after Ganguly attended a party conference in Jharkhand without informing her seniors.

In response to all this speculation, Ganguly only said: "Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given me a challenging job by nominating me to the Upper House, and I will try to give my best to achieve the goals for the state."

She did not want to comment on whether she took permission to attend the party conference or not.

For his part, Sinha said: "I do not want to comment on this matter. Let us see what happens next." All he said was that Ganguly should bring issues to the attention of Parliament, for the welfare of Bengal.

Impact of the nomination

Inside the BJP, opinion is divided as to whether Ganguly's nomination is a good thing for the state unit or not. While some feel the nomination will result in a split in the Bengal BJP, state chief Ghosh insists the move will help the party pick up some momentum in its 'Mission Bengal'.

"I don't know what other leaders are saying, but I feel that her nomination will help the Bengal BJP gain an advantage in the national forum. I spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modiji, and we both feel that her nomination is required in Bengal, especially at a time when the Trinamool Congress is poaching leaders from various parties by coercion and enticement," Ghosh said.

A section of the state BJP feels that since Ganguly joined the party, she has behaved very arrogantly, and has tried to extract additional mileage out of national leaders by projecting herself as a mass leader who visits the homes of the victims of political violence and sexual abuse.

As a result, she has earned the wrath of a section of senior BJP leaders in Bengal, as she normally does not take permission before going for party work. Consequently, the BJP's strategies to counter the TMC have failed to achieve the desired results, since some leaders have acted according to their whims and fancies.

According to political experts, the BJP's internal feud will provide a boost to the TMC at a time when it has already captured most of the panchyats in West Bengal. This will fit right into its plans for an 'Opposition-free Bengal'.

Edited by Shreyas Sharma

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First published: 6 October 2016, 8:21 IST