Kolkata: Following the poll debacle of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the landslide victory of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the exodus back to the ruling party and the alleged post-poll violence in West Bengal, West Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh spoke exclusively with The Free Press Journal and stated that the 'bad image' of the turncoat leaders from the TMC was one of the factors of the saffron camp’s defeat in the recently concluded Assembly polls.
Here's an excerpt from the interview:
Q. At a time when the TMC is thinking that poll strategist Prashant Kishor is instrumental for their victory, what do you think is the reason for the poll debacle of BJP?
Dilip: BJP's vote share has increased. Several people have voted for us, but people of West Bengal wanted BJP to be the main opposition party against the Trinamool Congress. There are many reasons for the debacle and we are constantly discussing the point but one of the main reasons is the induction of the ‘bad image’ turncoats from TMC in BJP. They didn’t work in TMC and wouldn’t have worked in BJP either. TMC is thanking I-PAC for their victory, forgetting the people of the state who had voted for them.
Q. Earlier you have informed FPJ that the saffron camp is currently focusing on preparations for the Municipal election. Amidst the exodus how can you all focus on the preparedness?
Dilip: Preparedness and review meetings based on the Assembly polls are in full swing. Exodus is not going to affect the BJP. Old BJP workers are there with the party. New BJP turncoat workers are switching camps and out of one lakh workers if few go back it will not affect the party at all. We are constantly making new strategies for the Municipal election.
Q. Amidst the wide-spread post-poll violence across the state, how is BJP going to safeguard its party workers?
Dilip: No sooner had the post-poll violence started ever since the result was announced on May 2, than the BJP moved both the Supreme Court and High Court. We have even approached every commission and the ruling party got letters from the court and commission but the TMC is not cooperating despite several appeals. Even from the court of law. Our party workers by sending food packets to the displaced workers are trying their best to send them back home. Safety of our workers is our utmost priority. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is unnecessarily spreading tension in West Bengal.
Q. What do you think is the main reason for the exodus?
Dilip: See those who think that power is important to them and not the common public they are mostly defecting to the TMC after they came back to power. Post good result in Lok Sabha election several people from all the parties have joined the BJP thinking that it will form the state government in West Bengal. They are mainly power-hungry. Moreover, ration, basic amenities and even 100 days of work are being denied to the BJP workers. In a way the TMC is forcing people to join them back.
Q. In Birbhum alone, for the last few days, people are seen defecting to the TMC. What is your take on it?
Dilip: In the last few years BJP has made a good base in Birbhum once considered to be a strong citadel of the ruling party. So even if one lakh cadres defect it won’t affect BJP.
Q. Recently, news came that few BJP MLAs from North Bengal wanted to make North Bengal a separate state. Is it true?
It is false news as BJP never wants or has any plans to break West Bengal. The ruling party had completely failed to curb the pandemic as they neither vaccinated people properly nor assisted people during Cyclone Yaas. Now just to malign the BJP they are spreading false news about the saffron camp.
Q. The TMC always cries foul against Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar. What do you have to say?
Dilip: When former Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi spoke against the former Left Front government, the TMC used to accept everything he said. Now when Jagdeep Dhankhar is saying the same thing against the TMC government they cannot accept them and also the good work done by the Governor is making them jittery.
Q. You said Suvendu’s recent visit to the national capital was known to you but he claimed that through a messenger he had informed you. What is your comment?
Dilip: No, I wasn’t aware that he is visiting Delhi for which he couldn’t attend the internal meeting. I didn’t get any information.
Q. Suvendu is asking Mukul Roy to resign from MLA post after defection and TMC is also asking Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla to cancel the MP post of two BJP leaders now. What do you have to say?
Dilip: Steps should actually be taken against Mukul Roy as he won under saffron camp’s ticket. Meanwhile, I don’t know when Sisir Adhikari and Soumendu Adhikari joined the BJP.
Q. Sisir was present at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s poll campaign in Contai. Isn't it?
Dilip: Anybody can be present at PMs meeting. Sisir Adhikari is TMC MP and can be present. Maybe, the father-son duo supported few moves of the BJP but neither of them had formally joined the BJP.
Q. Do you think Suvendu’s rise in power might affect traditional BJP cadres as he too is a turncoat leader? Will his power clash with yours?
Dilip: His rise in power will double the strength of the BJP. Moreover, everyone chose and welcomed him as Leader of the Opposition. But I being party president of West Bengal, no way his rise will affect me.
Q. It is being heard that there will soon be a cabinet change in the Centre and chances are there that you might get a place in the central ministry?
Dilip: I have never heard that I will be a part of the central ministry. It is a hoax and moreover our fight is in Bengal so no chance that I will leave several BJP workers struggling in West Bengal.
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