West Bengal BJP Chief Dilip Ghosh (Photo Credit: PTI)
A day after the Trinamool Congress leadership expressed willingness to induct Chhatradhar Mahato to the party, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh on Wednesday charged the ruling party with trying to revive its "dwindling fortunes" in Junglemahal area by taking in former Maoist cadres. Mahato, a former leader of Maoist-backed People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA), had hogged the limelight during the Lalgarh movement in tribal-dominated Junglemahal area at the fag end of the erstwhile CPI(M)-led Left Front government in the state.
"It seems (TMC supremo) Mamata Banerjee is afraid of the growing mass base of the BJP across the state. Earlier she is used to say Junglemahal is smiling. She has stopped saying so after a complete whitewash in the last Lok Sabha polls in Junglemahal," Ghosh said while addressing a pro-CAA rally in Jalpaiguri district.
In a bid to counter the growing presence of the BJP, the TMC is inducting former Maoist leaders and cadres in the party, he said. "But let me make one thing very clear - neither Maoists nor the TMC would be able to stop the BJP in the state," Ghosh said.
Mahato was set free in the beginning of this month by the West Bengal government following a reduction in his life term to 10 years by Calcutta High Court for his good conduct. Speculations had been rife over the past few months that Mahato is likely to join the TMC once he is set free.
TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee on Tuesday said he will be happy if Mahato joins the party. Mahato had refused to say anything on this issue. His joining the TMC could change the political
equation in West Bengal’s tribal Jangalmahal area which comprise the tribal districts of Jhargram, West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia. The BJP has made deep inroads there in the last two years and bagged all the seven seats in the Lok Sabha polls.