After union minister Shantanu Thakur exited the West Bengal BJP WhatsApp Group on January 3, he held a meeting with five other party MLAs, at his residence on Tuesday.
Thakur and the five lawmakers have decided to put forth some demands before the party, including Matua representation in the state unit of the BJP. The minister of state said he will concentrate on party activities only if these demands were fulfilled.
The major demand is that there should be one Matua representative as vice-president of the West Bengal BJP. Other demands include that the party must change Bongaon and Nadia (South) presidents as well as the Nabadwip observer.
The BJP, however, has said it will have to go into a huddle before making any change in the SC/ST structure of the party.
Thakur had recently expressed discontent after leaders from the Matua community did not get any prominence in the revised list of state committee members, district president, district-in-charge, bibhag-in-charge and bibhag convenors announced by state BJP president Sukanta Majumdar on December 23.
Following the development, five BJP MLAs quit the official WhatsApp group of the party’s legislature: Asim Sarkar (Haringhata MLA in Nadia), Ambika Roy (Kalyani MLA in Nadia), Subrata Thakur (Gaighata MLA in North 24 Parganas), Mukut Mani Adhikari (Ranaghat South MLA in Nadia) and Ashok Kirtaniya (Bongaon North MLA in North 24 Parganas district).
Thakur, who is also the joint president of the All India Matua Mahasangha, has also been missing from the BJP meetings recently. Sources close to Thakur also said his problem essentially was the inclusion of people from Dilip Ghosh’s camp in the state committee. Ghosh constantly sidelined Thakur when he was the state president.
This is not for the first time that Thakur has expressed his discontent over the role of the central leadership in issues related to the Matua community.
On December 29, 2020, Thakur had asked home minister Amit Shah that the Centre should clarify its stand over the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the state.
In 2019 Lok Sabha, besides winning the confidence of Matua community, the BJP also managed to capitalise on the Left Front’s vote share that helped Thakur to elbow out TMC heavyweight candidate Mamata Thakur. He had defeated Mamata by nearly 96,000 votes.