Express News Service
KOLKATA: Union Home minister Amit Shah held an unscheduled overnight meeting with state BJP functionaries on Monday following protests by the party supporters against the decision of giving TMC turncoats tickets to fight polls.
He summoned the state BJP leaders and national leaders, who were camping in Bengal, to Delhi for an emergency meeting.
Shah, who addressed a rally in Bankura on Monday, landed in Kolkata on his way to Delhi from Assam. In a five-star hotel, he convened a meeting which continued till dawn on Tuesday.
“The meeting was held in the backdrop of sporadic protests in districts and in front of our Kolkata party office at Hastings. The party’s old supporters came from at least five Assembly constituencies in South 24-Parganas, Howrah, and Hooghly districts and staged demonstrations for the two days after the candidate list for 63 seats were announced on Sunday. Shah was not happy with the explanations given by the party’s state functionaries,” said a senior BJP leader.
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BJP senior functionaries, including the national vice-president Mukul Roy, state president Dilip Ghosh, Bengal observer Kailash Vijayvargiya and other national leaders left for Delhi on Tuesday night.
On Monday, Roy and BJP’s Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh faced demonstrations when they were entering the Hastings office. Protesters, brandishing placards, demanded the withdrawal of the names of the TMC turncoats who were given tickets.
The first incident of discontent surfaced in Singur and Hooghly after the saffron camp announced that TMC’s incumbent MLA, Rabindranath Bhattacharya, who joined the BJP last week, will contest from the Assembly constituency. The demonstrators locked a Madhya Pradesh minister, who was in Singur, in a room demanding withdrawal of Bhattacharya’s name.
The protests spread to Hastings office when the BJP supporters found TMC turncoats, who joined very recently, have been given tickets.
The BJP has announced the candidate list for 123 Assembly constituencies out of 294. “The party leaders went to Delhi with the candidate list for remaining 171 seats,” said a BJP leader.
Sayantan Basu, BJP’s general secretary in Bengal, said many activists joined the party recently. “It is because many of the protesters were aspiring to contest in the upcoming elections and the agitations were a reflection of their frustration. We will sort out issue shortly,” he said.