Amid resentment in a section of the West Bengal BJP over induction of TMC leaders, the saffron party on Sunday said those involved in collecting “cut” money from people would not be allowed to join it. The BJP also said it would not turn into a “replica” of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal.
“The BJP is a party with a difference. Several TMC leaders, ministers and MPs are in touch with us. They want to get into the party. But we want to make one thing clear, those involved in the cut-money scam will not be inducted in our party,” Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya said here.
Vijayvargiya, the BJP in-charge of West Bengal, said this during a meeting with the party’s MPs and MLAs from the state.
His views were echoed by BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha, who said those involved in any financial scam would not get admission in the party.
“We will not turn into a replica of the TMC. We will not induct anyone involved in any financial scam. The people of West Bengal are looking at us and we have to work in that direction,” he said at the meeting.
The statements of the senior BJP leaders came at a time when the elected representatives of the TMC at the municipal and panchayat levels are facing public ire over the issue of returning “cut” money.
BJP sources said party chief Amit Shah had instructed the state leadership to tread cautiously while inducting new members and check the background of a person before bringing him into the party-fold.
Since the Lok Sabha poll results, six TMC legislators and an MLA each from the Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) have joined the saffron camp.
The BJP has also formed a screening committee comprising its state president Dilip Ghosh, state general secretary Subrata Chatterjee, Vijayvargiya and Mukul Roy to take a call on who should be inducted in the party.
Angry people are demanding the return of “cut” money in various districts such as West Midnapore, Bankura, Birbhum, Burdwan, Kolkata, Coochbehar, Jalpaiguri, Malda, Purulia and Nadia.
Following protests by the people, several TMC leaders have returned lakhs of rupees taken as “cut” money from hundreds of beneficiaries of government schemes.
During Sunday’s meeting, Vjayvargiya also set a membership target of one crore for the state leadership.
“One of the reasons behind the BJP returning to power (at the Centre) with over 300 seats is that we have 10 crore party members across the country. So if we want to form the next government in the state, we should have at least one crore party members in West Bengal,” he said.
Ghosh alleged at the meeting that party workers were being killed in various parts of the state every day.
“The Lok Sabha poll victory is dedicated to all those workers who were killed. We would not have witnessed this day without the sacrifices made by our workers,” he said.
The saffron party made major inroads in West Bengal in the Lok Sabha polls held in April-May, winning 18 of the 42 seats, just four less than the TMC’s 22.