With an eye on next year’s assembly polls, the BJP reconstituted its West Bengal unit on Monday, inducting more than a dozen new faces including turncoats and dropping Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s grandnephew Chandra Bose who opposed the party’s stand on CAA and NRC.
It also brought in new and younger faces to head the party’s women and youth fronts.
Several leaders who had switched from the Trinamool Congress and other parties in the last one year were accommodated in the committee.
BJP MP from Barrackpore and former TMC leader Arjun Singh was promoted as a vice-president of the party.
Among the 11 other vice presidents are BJP MP from Bankura constituency Subhas Sarkar and Mafuja Khatun, a former CPI(M) leader, party’s state unit chief Dilip Ghosh said.
Party secretary Ritesh Tiwari and former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh were also promoted as vice president.
Senior party leader and Hoogly MP Locket Chatterjee, who was leading the party’s Mahila Morcha, was replaced with fashion designer Agnimitra Paul who had joined the party a few years ago, Mr Ghosh said.
Ms Chatterjee was made one of the general secretaries.
Bishnupur MP Soumitra Khan has been made the in-charge of the Yuva Morcha, while Malda (North) MP Khagen Murmu has been given the charge of the Scheduled Tribe Morcha.
Dulal Bar, who had joined switched to BJP from Congress last year, was made in-charge of the party’s Scheduled Caste Morcha.
Soumitro Khan, a former TMC MP, had joined the party last year and Khagen Murmu, a two-time CPI(M) MLA, had joined the party just ahead of Lok Sabha polls.
Party MP Jyotirmoy Mahato was inducted as one of the five general secretaries along with Sayantan Basu, Sanjay Singh, Rathindranth Basu and Locket Chatterjee.
State party president Dilip Ghosh, who was re-elected to the post for a second term in January this year, said the inductions were based on “performance” of leaders.
“Importance was given to performance of leaders and workers. The new committee has been prepared keeping in mind next year’s assembly polls,” Mr Ghosh said.
Chandra Bose, who was among the vice-presidents of BJP Bengal unit, has been a staunch critic of the party’s stand on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Former Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee, who had joined the party last year, was also not inducted as one of the office-bearers.
With just a year left for the crucial assembly polls, the BJP has been up against the state’s ruling party over its mishandling of the dual crisis of COVID-19 pandemic and Cyclone Amphan.
The TMC has been on a sticky wicket in Bengal since the last Lok Sabha polls in which it lost 12 parliamentary seats to BJP.
The saffron camp had then emerged as the primary challenger of TMC in the state by winning 18 out of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state, while the TMC’s tally came down to 22 from 34.