West Bengal BJP leaders appeared not very supportive of the idea of imposing President's rule in the state as they feel it might adversely affect the party's prospect in the Lok Sabha elections, even as the TMC government fights a pitched turf war with the Centre over CBI probe in the chitfund scam cases. BJP leaders Tuesday said if the Centre imposed President's rule in the state ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) led by Mamata Banerjee would cry foul and try to grab sympathy votes. "If you want to know the views of the state leadership," a senior state BJP leader told PTI requesting anonymity, "I would only say the state unit is not in favour of imposition of President's rule."
Another BJP leader said the TMC was fast losing its ground in the state. "In such a position, if President's rule is imposed, the TMC would complain of vendetta politics and bag sympathy votes. Why should we let that happen?" the leader said.
By nature, the people of West Bengal always vote for the party which is opposed to central government, he said. The issue of imposition of President's rule has come up after an all-out war broke out between the Centre and the TMC government on Sunday, with Chief Minister Banerjee beginning a dharna here over the CBI's attempt to question the Kolkata Police chief in connection with chitfund scam cases.
Insisting that the CBI's move stifled the spirit of "Constitution and federalism", Banerjee had wondered if the Centre was mulling to impose President's rule in the state. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Monday said the "unfortunate" and "unprecedented" developments in West Bengal involving the CBI and the Kolkata Police indicate a constitutional breakdown, warning that the Centre has powers to take action.
Singh had also spoken to Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi in wake of the CBI team being allegedly obstructed by the state police when they tried to question Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar in the Saradha ponzi scam case on Sunday. HRD minister and senior BJP leader Prakash Javadekar Monday claimed that Constitutional order has completely broken down in the state but has stopped short of demanding imposition of President's rule in West Bengal.
State BJP leaders said, they have clearly conveyed it to the party's central leadership that imposition of President's Rule in the state would not only act as an advantage for the TMC but would also have an adverse impact on the party's prospects in Lok Sabha polls. However, there is a minor section within the state unit which feels that "imposition of President's rule is a must to restore democracy in West Bengal".
Union minister and BJP MP from Asansol in West Bengal, Babul Supriyo, had demanded that President's rule be imposed in the state. "President's rule should be imposed in West Bengal to control this 'Rogue' TMC government under a corrupt CM Mamata Banerjee. This is a constitutional crisis 'created' by Mamata to shield her corrupt & tainted accomplices," Supriyo had said in a tweet.
Since Independence, West Bengal had witnessed imposition of President's rule on four occasions between 1962-1972. The decade was marked by political instability, collapse of a United Front governments and rise of the naxalite movement. With the chief minister sitting on a dharna alleging misuse of the CBI, various opposition parties, including the Congress, BJD, TDP, SP and NCP, have come out in support of Banerjee.
(With inputs from agencies.)