Union Minister of State Santanu Thakur has quit the WhatsApp groups of the BJP’s West Bengal unit fuelling speculations of a rift in the party’s state unit months after its failed attempt to dethrone the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress. Santanu’s move comes just ahead of the visit of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J P Nadda to iron out differences in the party’s state unit.
While the state leadership has kept mum on the issue, The Indian Express quoted sources saying that Thakur, who represents Bongaon Lok Sabha seat and is a Matua community leader, is unhappy over the “lack representation of Matua leaders” in the state and district committees of the party which was recently reconstituted.
“I will not like to comment on my leaving the WhatsApp groups right now. Let the right time come, I will tell you the reason for my actions and my future plans,” Thakur, who holds the portfolio of MoS Ports, Shipping and Waterways, told mediapersons on Tuesday.
Earlier in December, at least nine legislators quit the party’s WhatsApp group for lawmakers after the state unit was reshuffled and new district presidents were appointed.
On December 25, five MLAs — Mukutmoni Adhikari, Subrata Thakur, Ambica Roy, Asok Kirtania and Asim Sarkar left several WhatsApp groups of the party expressing their displeasure over their exclusion from the state committee. Most of them belong to the Matua community. A day later, four MLAs from Bankura district — Amarnath Sakha, Dibakar Ghorami, Niladri Sekhar Dana and Nirmal Dhara — also left the party’s WhatsApp groups.
The Indian Express quoted sources saying that the state committee, which was revamped after the party’s debacle in the Kolkata civic polls last month, lacks Matua faces. Also, even in organisational leadership in district units where Matua voters are in majority, the names of the leaders from the community were absent.
Santanu Thakur is also a leader of the All India Matua Mahasangha, a religious and cultural organisation of the community.
“It is an internal matter of the party. We will talk to him and resolve any issue which he may be facing,” said state BJP chief Sukanta Majumder.
BJP national president JP Nadda is likely to visit the state on January 9, while Amit Shah is scheduled to come to the state in the last week of January.