KOLKATA: The state BJP will soon train thousands of political workers who have defected from various parties to join the Bengal unit of the saffron party.
The state unit has discussed the issue with BJP in charge for West Bengal Siddharth Nath Singh and decided to hold training sessions in all districts for thousands of workers, mainly the CPM and TMC turncoats.
It was decided that the entire state will be divided into eight sectors and a couple of senior state leaders given the responsibility of conducting these “shikshan shibirs” (training camps) for those who have already joined.
BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday instructed Bengal unit leaders to “screen” all the workers who wanted to join the party since the BJP’s target was to do well in the 2016 state Assembly polls and it had to project an image of a “clean and disciplined party”.
Shah has instructed the state leadership to form party units at the level of polling booths and conduct training camps for all the new entrants as well as existing party members to energise them politically.
A state BJP leader said: “Many leaders from the CPM and TMC might be interested in joining us, particularly after our spectacular victory in the Lok Sabha polls, but they have to be admitted according to our stringent rules. “They first have to work as primary members for a few years and only after satisfactory performance be granted active membership. We will not allow a new entrant, irrespective of his position in his parent party, to be given any party post at any level,” he said. For being nominated for the elections to local bodies such as municipalities and corporations, one need not be an “active member”, but must possess a clean image and should not have any corruption charges against him/her.
He pointed out that former CPM MPs such as Dinesh Joardar, who was twice elected from Malda Lok Sabha seat in the 70s, and former SFI president and CPM Rajya Sabha MP Bratin Sengupta, had also joined the BJP. Sengupta was also nominated during the 2009 general elections from Barasat Lok Sabha constituency. But many leaders in the state BJP who are also RSS members are rigid and have strong reservations against admitting large numbers of people from other political parties who are unaware of the ideologies of the saffron party.
One of them cited the example of a few TV actors joining the party after the Lok Sabha polls and some local-level leaders from other parties directly reaching the state party headquarters to join the party, avoiding district BJP units, which they felt “will be harmful for the organisation in the long run”. Former state BJP president Tathagata Roy on Tuesday told Express: “The party has to grow and it is true that many are joining our party both from the CPM and TMC for political protection. But we have to pick and choose, and in case of leaders we have to be all the more prudent.”
“The main criteria is that the workers should have a good image in their respective political arenas. Unlike other parties, we have a system and it will be followed rigidly,” he said.