From having to shave their heads to being doused in sanitiser, it’s a literal walk of shame for BJP workers in West Bengal who are trying to switch back to their old party Trinamool Congress following the state election results in May.
While the ride back was smoother for the likes of Mukul Roy, a top Trinamool lieutenant who switched to the BJP before the 2019 general elections, it’s an entirely different experience for many of the party’s foot soldiers.
Those being accepted back in have been seen undergoing egregious tests of loyalty and prostrating to please the powers that be.
Recently, six BJP workers shaved off their hair when they swapped party flags in Hooghly.
The move drew condemnation from BJP Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta, who managed to secure a seat back in the upper house of parliament after an unsuccessful run in the state elections.
The public humiliation was reminiscent of 1960’s China, he said.
Many will recall the horrors of China’s Cultural Revolution in the mid-1960s: mass denunciations, self-criticism & other forms of public humiliation of people by Red Guards, and destruction of shrines. These scenes are now being re-enacted across W.Bengal against BJP workers.
— Swapan Dasgupta (@swapan55) June 23, 2021
Today, in the Birhum district, 150 BJP workers were thoroughly sprayed with sanitiser before being handed the Trinamool flag.
The local party leader who organised the switchover event said he “wanted to sanitise the BJP bug out of these people”.
After boldly declaring that it would win more than 200 of West Bengal’s 294 constituencies, the BJP was constricted to less than 80 seats in the March-April elections by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress.
Since then, several Trinamool defectors have expressed their interest in returning to Mamata Banerjee’s team, besides Mukul Roy.
Though the Trinamool has been slow and selective in letting the turncoats back in, at Mr Roy’s homecoming ceremony, Mamata Banerjee, somewhat cryptically said, “More will come.”
The Trinamool, sources have said, is eager to “strike while the iron is hot” and break a chunk off the BJP, preferably a bigger one than the section that left the Trinamool before the election.