KOLKATA: The West Bengal BJP on Wednesday rallied around party leader Juhi Choudhury, named by the woman who headed the NGO that has been accused of selling children over the past few years. Rajya Sabha MP Roopa Ganguly accused the West Bengal government of trying to drag her name into the case as revenge for the arrests of Trinamool Congress MPs Tapas Paul and Sudip Bandopadhyay.
Chandana Chakraborty, chairperson of the NGO that ran a child-care shelter 'Bimala Sishu Griho', is at the centre of what the state police insist was a thriving child trafficking racket operating out of Jalpaiguri district.
She has alleged that Juhi Chowdhury, the district head of the BJP's women's wing, had tried to help her get funding from the government and renew her expired licence needed to give children at her shelter in adoption.
Ms Chowdhury, in turn, is alleged to have reached out to Roopa Ganguly, who heads the party's women's wing in the state and Kailash Vijayvargiya, the BJP's in-charge for West Bengal.
The party initially appeared to distance itself from allegations about Ms Chowdhury's role but as the opposition attacks on the party became shrill and targeted senior leaders as well, the BJP has refined its tactics.
On Wednesday, State BJP president Dilip Ghosh launched a counterattack on the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government, calling the police probe targeting its leaders a part of a TMC conspiracy to malign party leaders. "The CID is working as a party wing of TMC," he said.
He said Ms Chowdhury - arrested on Tuesday night from close to the Indo-Nepal border in north Bengal - had been removed from all party posts but she would retain her membership as her guilt has not been proved.
But the strongest support for Ms Chowdhury came from actor-turned-politician Ms Ganguly who has found herself dragged into the investigation against Chandana Chakraborty and Juhi Choudhury. The Rajya Sabha member said the charges against "our Juhi" were despicable and those levelling the baseless allegations against "the young girl" will have to face the consequences.
BJP national general secretary Mr Vijayvargiya too raised doubts about the investigation. "The police stations have become party offices and officers have become party workers. I have doubts over the investigation," he said, a follow-up of his tweet earlier in the day calling the CID a "Conspiracy Invention Department".
(With inputs from PTI)