In Bengal, the BJP is a strange party. It lacks leaders, grassroots politicians and even effective spokespersons. It has outsourced its wicked and ghoulish pursuit of power to guns for hire. On the streets, such as in Baduria and Basirhat, the party used stormtroopers from the BJP-RSS combine to spread rumours and fuel riots. In the media, it is using a select band that claims to understand Bengal and attempts to shape the narrative, but manages only to make a fool of itself.
In particular, there is a gang of eight who have been given the Bengal supari
by the BJP HQ. Let us call them the BJP Octette, singing together in disharmony. Who are these people?
Exhibit One: A former Rajya Sabha member from Uttarakhand, and former editor of the RSS mouthpiece Panchajanya. Now looking for his next sinecure and shopping wildly for it. One day, he speaks about China and Tibet. The next day about the writings of Thiruvalluvar. The third day about dark-skinned and fair-skinned Indians. His latest bandwagon is Bengal, where he styles himself as an expert. He even wrote a column for NDTV
Exhibit Two: Another editor, also a former Rajya Sabha member, now looking to confirm his nomination for a BJP ticket in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. (He will lose, of course, but in the BJP, even getting a losing ticket is worth it. I wonder why!). This person used to study in Kolkata as a schoolboy. He showed up 40 years later for the Lok Sabha election in 2014. As soon as he lost, he very sweetly vanished. Now he's back. As Led Zeppelin sang: "In through the 'out' door". He too wrote a column for NDTV
Exhibit Three: A columnist-turned-Rajya Sabha MP (nominated) - the Burra Sa'ab
among the Sanghis and the epitome of the Lutyens' Zone Parivar
. He recently addressed a small-scale public meeting in Delhi's Jantar Mantar. Behind him was an image of violence, with captions reading "Save Bengal" and "save Hindus". Guess what? The image was from the Gujarat pogrom in 2002. What's more - a BJP spokesperson tweeted that image and tried to pass it off as being from Bengal. (She now has an unbailable warrant against her)
Exhibit Four: A tabloid editor, again of possible origins from Kolkata. He now hangs around the ruling party in Delhi hoping for some crumbs. He is the print equivalent of the TV Studio Pracharaks and is vituperative and nasty in his comments. The boy needs to learn some ambiguity and deniability. That's the route to success in BJP circles.
Exhibit Five: The BJP IT head, now also a Bengal expert. His job is to spread disinformation and manage troll armies. He does this very well, so much so that his own tweets are riddled with factual inaccuracies. His Bengal propaganda is so uninformed that we can't even refute it. How can you refute uneducated garbage?
Exhibit Six: Another "former journalist", now a columnist and think-tank fellow. Pretends to be sober but slips in disinformation and the party line in the midst of his pieces. He may as well become an official BJP spokesperson. Last lived in Kolkata maybe 25 years ago. Claims he still understands it. It's like me saying I understand lacrosse.
Exhibit Seven: The Health Minister of Uttar Pradesh, earlier in charge of Bengal for the BJP. He was so successful the party won three seats out of 294 in the 2016 assembly election! The BJP rewarded him with a job in the Uttar Pradesh government. His obsession with Bengal remains. As his government unleashes vigilantes and as law and order collapses in his state, he prefers focusing on Bengal.
Exhibit Eight: The BJP General Secretary for whom Bengal is a short stop while he tries to oust and replace Shivraj Singh as Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. Scores of farmer suicides in his home state don't move him. But fictional accounts of violence in Bengal have driven him to a frenzy. All he wants is the big job in Bhopal. Once that happens, bye-bye Bengal.Derek O'Brien is leader, parliamentary party Trinamool Congress (RS), and Chief National spokesperson of the party.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.