KOLKATA: The BJP leadership Saturday sent out a strong message to dissidents who have been protesting over the selection of candidates in West Bengal saying that those who do not agree with the party's decision are free to leave it.
"There is some resentment over candidate selection. Everything can be sorted out through discussions. But if some people think that by staging protests the party would be influenced to change its decision then they are wrong. They are free to leave the party," Ghosh told reporters.
Protests erupted in various parts of West Bengal after BJP in its first list of 28 candidates for West Bengal nominated several defectors from the ruling Trinamool Congress and even the CPI-M to take on Mamata Banerjee's party in the state.
Another candidate Mafuja Khatun was announced by the party today. She will contest from Jangipur, where the Congress has fielded former president Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit Mukherjee.
With old-timers being overlooked in favour of turncoats and newcomers, protestors gathered outside BJP offices in various parts of the state to vent their feelings. In some places they put up posters of rejected ticket aspirants outside the party's offices.
This is not the first time that the BJP has faced such protests. During the Kolkata Municipal Corporation polls in 2015 several ticket aspirants had staged protests outside the party office here.
The BJP Bengal leadership Saturday held a closed door meeting with state leaders and discussed various aspects of the upcoming polls. During the meeting BJP national general secretary and Bengal minder, Kailash Vijayvargiya is reported to have said that if some aspirant did not get a ticket this time it did not mean that he would not the next time.
"You (an aspirant) have to wait and keep working for the party. There is still a long way to go," a state BJP leader quoted him as saying in the meeting. The saffron party, which bagged two Lok Sabha seats in the state in the 2014 elections, is now targeting 23 of the state's 42 constituencies.
BJP state vice-president Raj Kamal Pathak submitted his resignation from the post after he was denied a party ticket.
"If after serving the party for three decades and holding the post of vice-president do not make me qualified to get a party ticket, it is better to resign from the post," Pathak had said while tendering his resignation.
The veteran BJP leader wanted to contest from Hooghly district, but he was overlooked in favour of a newcomer. Of the 29 candidates announced so far, five had recently defected to the saffron party from Trinamool Congress and two from the CPI(M).