For over a period now, the Bharatiya Janata Party has been flaunting the ‘party with a difference’ tag proudly with its name. And a series of recent incidents concerning the West Bengal unit of the dispensation actually shows how astonishingly different the party may be from any of its other counterparts!
BJP’s presence in the state of West Bengal has historically been minuscule. Even though the alliance with the Trinamool Congress (TMC) had given them some parliamentary presence since 1998, but almost no mass base as such, in the state. After BJP single-handedly won two Lok Sabha and three assembly seats recently in West Bengal, they have regularly been claiming to be the new big thing in the politics of West Bengal.
However, some of the BJP leaders have allegedly utilised this new-found foothold in Bengal in a shockingly different way. They have allegedly been concentrating on child trafficking in Bengal in the last few years.
According to the data released by the Home Ministry, in 2014, West Bengal had occupied the top position in terms of the number of reported cases of child trafficking.
Investigation and a series of arrests at present implicate top BJP leaders with the child-trafficking business.
In November, last year, Dr Dilip Ghosh, a BJP leader from the party, who also contested in the Bidhan Nagar Municipal Corporation on a BJP ticket, was arrested for being allegedly involved in a racket involving the trafficking of newborn babies.
Now, Chandana Chakraborty, the leader of the Bimala Sishu Griho, was arrested in February for allegedly selling newborn babies to clients in India and abroad. She named prominent BJP leader and former actress Roopa Ganguly, BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and BJP Mahila Morcha leader Juhi Chowdhury, of being involved with her in the business. Even though Juhi Chowdhury has been arrested, there has been no attempt so far by the Bengal police to arrest or even question the other accused BJP leaders.
According to the investigations so far, Chandana Chakraborty used to allegedly traffic children across India and overseas, through her ‘child-care home’. The Central Adoption Resource Authority, a body under the Ministry of Women and Child Development, GOI, is in-charge of issuing ‘fit’ certificates in child adoption cases. Chakraborty had allegedly been forging such certificates to traffic children abroad. After being arrested, she told the media that Juhi Chowdhury resolved ‘some issues’ regarding the ‘child care home’ by negotiating with the central leaders of the BJP.
Later on, as the investigation progressed, the BJP leadership tried a face-saving mechanism by removing Juhi Chowdhury from the position of a state secretary of its women’s wing (Mahila Morcha). According to the Millenium Post, the Criminal Investigation Department has a recording of a conversation between Kailash Vijayvargiya’s confidential secretary Prasant Sarin and Juhi Chowdhury. Even Dilip Ghosh has not been able to refute these allegations.
Irrespective of how much they try, it’s difficult for the BJP leaders to trivialise the allegations by projecting them as aberrations of a few individuals. All the instances together point towards the possibility of a bigger and deeper involvement of people of the party unit in the crime.
As of now, for Modi and Amit Shah, the flag bearers of Swachh Bharat, trying to create a Swachh BJP seems to be quite an uphill task.