Jaitley To Attend But State BJP To Stay Away


Kolkata: Union finance minister Arun Jaitley have confirmed his presence at Mamata Banerjee’s swearing-in ceremony but the Bengal unit of the BJP seems firm in its stand to boycott the Friday gala.

The BJP would observe the day as Kala Divas and stage a demonstration outside offices of SPs and SDPOs, said BJP state president and MLA Dilip Ghosh in Midnapore on Thursday. The party apparently took the decision after its members, taking a rally to Mamata’s home on Monday to protest against the violence rocking the state, were stopped by the police.

“We will boycott the swearing-in ceremony. Nearly 150 BJP workers are still living away from their homes as they are scared of the post-poll attacks. Most of those clashes were reported from places such as Gopiballavpur and Nayagram. I have to visit the affected areas and, in the process, I am missing out on scheduled party programmes,” Ghosh said.

When pointed out that central leaders, such as Jaitley, had confirmed their attendance, Ghosh said, “They are in power at the Centre and such visits may be a courtesy. I have informed the top leadership about the bloodbath in Bengal and how BJP workers are being tormented. We will observe Kala Divas on Friday and stage a demonstration.” Taking a dig at the reinstatement of Bharati Ghosh as the West Midnapore SP, he said, “Till now, she had been putting up an act and we had been watching. From now on, we will put up an act for her.”

The BJP state president, however, did not give any indication if he would carry out his Monday threat to block access to Red Road today. According to an insider, this stand by the state BJP is important if the party wishes to establish itself as a credible opposition in Bengal and do better in future.