BJP leader Dilip Ghosh questions shifting of established leaders to unfamiliar seats

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Kolkata, Jun 7 (PTI) A day after publicly stating that his reassignment from Medinipur Lok Sabha constituency to Bardhaman-Durgapur was a mistake by the BJP leadership, outspoken saffron party leader Dilip Ghosh on Friday questioned the rationale behind relocating established leaders like him from winnable constituencies to challenging electoral battlegrounds.

Ghosh, a former BJP state president who won the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from Medinipur, suffered a crushing defeat in the Bardhaman-Durgapur seat in the 2024 polls, losing to TMC's Kirti Azad by a margin of nearly 1.38 lakh votes.

In his initial reaction after the electoral setback, Ghosh had said, "It is now established that sending me to contest from a new constituency was a mistake." Continuing his critique a day later, Ghosh questioned the choices made by the state BJP leadership, particularly in relocating experienced leaders like him and former Union MoS Debasree Choudhury from familiar constituencies to unfamiliar ones, resulting in losses for the party in both Medinipur and Bardhaman-Durgapur.

"Candidates like me and (former Union MoS) Debasree Choudhury, who are familiar with the constituencies like Medinipur and Raiganj and having worked at the grassroots level for years were dispatched to other seats this time. This has to be looked into. Though we retained Raiganj, it is inexplicable why Choudhury was shunted to Kolkata Dakshin?," he said.

Ghosh expressed bewilderment at the decisions, emphasising the importance of winning weaker seats and lamenting the apparent reversal in strategy.

"It is so baffling that instead of firming up plans to win weak seats, apparently we are doing things otherwise and ending up losing some winnable seats. It defies logic," he said.

He highlighted his years of dedicated work in Midnapore as an MP, leader, and grassroots worker, expressing shock at being reassigned elsewhere.

He further criticised the lack of communication and consultation from the state leadership regarding significant party decisions.

Ghosh was reassigned to Bardhaman-Durgapur, a seat perceived to be challenging in the battle against the TMC, where he succeeded outgoing MP SS Ahluwalia. Ahluwalia, in turn, was transferred to Asansol. The party's sitting MLA from Asansol Dakshin, Agnimitra Paul, took over Ghosh's position in Medinipur. However, all three BJP candidates were defeated by their TMC rivals in the elections.

Asserting that he was not nominated from Medinipur, which has a significant population of SC, ST, and OBC communities, under the pretext of not securing Kurmi votes, Ghosh said, "Some individuals within our party argued that my nomination would lead to a loss in Medinipur, as the Kurmi vote bank, considered a backward caste, would turn against me. However, this reasoning was not applied to Purulia, where the BJP candidate was re-elected despite the area also having a substantial Kurmi population." Despite these grievances, Ghosh affirmed his commitment to remain connected with ordinary party workers and the common people.

Venting his frustration, he expressed readiness to pursue his own path if necessary. "Over the past four years, I had not participated in many state-level important programmes of BJP as I had not been intimated," he said.

Following his defeat on June 4, Ghosh sparked controversy on Thursday by quoting former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's emphasis on valuing veteran party workers. "Keep one thing in mind, even one old Karyakarta of the party should not be neglected. If necessary, let ten new Karyakartas get separated. Because the old workers are the guarantee of our victory. Trusting new Karyakartas too quickly is not advisable," he had posted on X.

Senior TMC leader Firhad Hakim seized on the opportunity to criticize the BJP's treatment of Ghosh, alleging that new entrants to the party were undermining and disregarding loyal, long-term leaders.

"The way Ghosh was treated by his party proves beyond doubt that some new entrants are calling the shots and dictating the terms with scant regard and respect for loyal, long-term party leaders. This is how BJP is functioning. There is no chance of the party getting acceptance from the people of Bengal," he added. PTI SUS MNB