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No Bengal BJP MP in Modi team

No Bengal BJP MP in Modi team
KOLKATA: It isn't on-the-record. But off it, the rumblings are all too loud.

Two MPs, a 16.8% vote share or 86, 91,765 votes for BJP in West Bengal are part of a growth script that fuelled expectations of a ministerial berth from the state. But there's no one from here and that has caused disappointment among party workers and palpable unhappiness.

Ever since Shyama Prasad Mukherjee's cabinet berth in 1947-50, there has been no government in Delhi that hasn't had a minister from Bengal. Even governments in which BJP led or participated in had representation from Bengal. Mamata was part of an NDA formation as an ally and Tapan Sikdar, Satyabrata Mukherjee (both BJP MPs in 2000-04) were ministers. Later Jaswant Singh, who won from Darjeeling, went on to become a Union minister.

This time the BJP central leadership has chosen to overlook Darjeeling MP S S Ahluwalia, a six-time MP and BJP's deputy leader in Rajya Sabha, and Babul Supriyo, a popular entertainer from the state who won the second seat for BJP from Asansol MP.

"What do we tell the 86 lakh BJP voters when we go to thank them for their vote and get ask what has Bengal got it return?" said a party leader. "It's not that we are hankering after posts, but people measure recognition of a state party by the way it has been treated by the central leadership. And there we are losing out."

The rank and file of BJP in the state believe the party has a great future in West Bengal. The collapse of the Congress and steep decline of the Left has created the space for an alternative like BJP, they say. "We need some encouragement at this point," said a party member.

"We hope that the cabinet will be expanded after the July budget session. We also hope Bengal will be given an adequate cabinet representation then," a senior state BJP functionary said. State BJP president Rahul Sinha refused to comment.

According to the state BJP sources, a cabinet minister was important for Bengal as it heads to another election season. Elections to 17 municipalities will be due anytime after July, 2014. Kolkata Municipal Corporation and Bidhannagar Municipality will go to polls in 2015. And finally, the state Assembly polls are slated in 2016.

Among the 17 poll-bound municipalities, BJP heads in three and is second in four others. In Kolkata, BJP is in pole position in at least 23 municipal wards. In Bhowanipore assembly seat, which in 2011 elected Mamata Banerjee as its MLA, it has taken a lead. Given the backdrop, state leaders felt a cabinet slot would have been a shot-in-the-arm for the party.

The just-concluded Lok Sabha poll records shows that BJP candidates ended second in three seats relegating Left Front to a third position, but 10 others too did make a dash for the end. These 12 didn't win but garnered over two-lakh votes. "This creates expectations among party workers," said a losing candidate. "There is a sense of disappointment but we hope the central leadership will make amends," added a state level leader said.(TOI)

BJP team to visit WB over reports of attacks on party workers


New Delhi: Taking serious note of complaints of attacks on BJP workers in West Bengal following Lok Sabha polls, party President Rajnath Singh has decided to send a five-member team to the state to assess the ground situation there.

BJP Vice Presidents and MPs SS Ahluwalia and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi will, along with national spokesperson and New Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi, be part of the delegation.

The two remaining members of the team are newly-elected BJP MP from Asansol, Babul Supriyo, and Siddharth Nath Singh, the BJP's co-in-charge of party affairs in West Bengal.

There have been recent reports of continued attacks on BJP workers in West Bengal, allegedly by Trinamool Congress cadre, after the party's good performance at the hustings.

The West Bengal unit of BJP has claimed that more than 200 of its workers have been injured in post-poll violence. It has told the state government that unless it maintains law and order, it would seek the governor's intervention.

The ruling Trinamool Congress has denied these charges and accused BJP of fomenting violence.

State BJP has also requested Home Minister Singh to send a central team to Sandeshkhali of South 24 Parganas district to look into violent attacks on its workers allegedly by Trinamool Congress workers.

State BJP leaders have alleged that Trinamool goons attacked their workers as they were celebrating Prime Minister Narendra Modi's swearing-in on Monday.

"This kind of terror unleashed on BJP workers by goons of Trinamool Congress across the state is unacceptable and will not be tolerated," Siddharth Nath Singh had said.

BJP has won two Lok seats in West Bengal-- Ahluwalia in Darjeeling and Supriyo in Asansol.

The party also saw a rise in its vote share in the state in the just-concluded Lok Sabha polls as it got 16.8 per cent votes, a little behind 22.7 per cent of CPI(M) and 39.3 per cent of Trinamool Congress.

PTI

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