What Subrata Chattopadhyay’s rise in RSS means for Bengal BJP

In order to keep its full grip on the BJP of Bengal, the RSS has reappointed the former secretary general of the BJP of West Bengal, Subrata Chattopadhyay, as head of the eastern region of the RSS.

Chattopadhyay, a staunch opponent of TMC leaders joining the BJP, was ousted from his post as BJP general secretary of the Bengal unit last year. He was replaced by Shah Amitava Chakraborty’s loyalist. Chattopadhyay is known to be close to BJP National Vice President Dilip Ghosh.

Chattopadhyay has been credited with building the party in West Bengal, along with Ghosh. The duo won a resounding victory for the party in the 2019 Lok Sabha election by winning 18 seats.

Ahead of the legislative elections, Chattopadhyay spoke out against the massive influx of TMC leaders into the BJP. He even caught the attention of RSS leader Mohan Bhagwat, which created a stir within the party. Its logic was that the moral position of the party and the RSS on corruption would be compromised.

While the Amit Shah-JP Nadda group justified the induction of these leaders into the BJP as a “political necessity”, Chattopadhyay called it “suicidal” for the saffron party. Ghosh also supported Chattopadhyay.

The struggle reached such a stage that Bhagwat had to intervene as he made several trips to Bengal to facilitate coordination between the BJP and the RSS. While Ghosh was convinced by Shah and Nadda, Chattopadhyay stood firm in his position. Bhagwat was then forced to recall Chattopadhyay to the RSS.

The debacle the party faced in the polls prompted hard-line BJP supporters like Ghosh to convince RSS that what he and Chattopadhyay were reporting was true and that TMC defectors would have little impact on BJP in the state. As Ghosh’s tenure was supposed to end, the central leadership of the BJP replaced him with Ghosh loyalist Sukanta Majumder, a North Bengal university professor and former RSS member.

Now, with the rise of Chattopadhyay as leader of the eastern region of the RSS, the RSS will take full control of the party’s expansion in Bengal. Chattopadhyay would now have a say in the party’s coordination with the RSS in Bengal.

With Ghosh becoming national vice president, the state president of the BJP being a loyalist of Ghosh and Ghosh’s friend Chattopadhyay, the head of the eastern region of the RSS, party insiders believe that most defectors from the TMC will now be isolated, unless they are as powerful as Suvendu Adhikari who has direct access to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Secretary Amit Shah.

Known as extremely honest and uncompromising, Chattopadhyay will now rebuild the RSS organization from top to bottom, with the aim of making it vibrant ahead of the 2024 elections.

The RSS recently divided its organization in Bengal into three parts. Chattopadhyay will now coordinate all three segments and make RSS and its affiliates, which were unhappy in 2021, more loyal to the BJP.

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