regular-article-logo Tuesday, 06 June 2023

Dilip Ghosh: None in BJP ready to fight Bengal CM in bypoll

Sources said Ghosh’s statement laid bare the 'worst-kept secret' of how dilapidated the party’s organisation had become in the wake of its Assembly election debacle

Arkamoy Datta Majumdar Calcutta Published 08.09.21, 12:59 AM
Dilip Ghosh

Dilip Ghosh File picture

Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh on Tuesday publicly accepted that his party was struggling to find a candidate against chief minister Mamata Banerjee for the bypoll in Bhowanipore.

“We will send a few names to Delhi, for them (the central leadership) to finalise.… We have asked a lot of people to contest the bypoll, but none is willing,” said Ghosh at a news conference in the headquarters of the state BJP.


BJP sources said Ghosh’s statement further laid bare the “worst-kept secret” of how dilapidated the party’s organisation had become in the wake of its Assembly election debacle. They also asked that if the state BJP chief sounded so pessimistic in public, how he would lift the morale of the workers at the grassroots.

“It is very true that nobody in our party is willing or capable for contesting against Mamata in Bhowanipore in a bypoll, months after she led her party to a statewide sweep. But is it becoming of a state president to admit it in a news conference? What message does it send out for those down the line?” asked a state BJP functionary.

He added that the hype over mulling legal options against the Election Commission of India’s decision to hold the September 30 bypoll in Bhowanipore was only a diversionary tactic, to draw eyeballs away from the fact that the BJP was unable to find a candidate.

Ghosh, who had said even on Monday that his party was taking legal advice, was conspicuous in his silence regarding it on Tuesday.

Another section in the BJP, however, said Ghosh’s comment was aimed at leaders like former state chief Tathagata Roy, who had been publicly critical of Ghosh’s leadership and the choice of candidates in the Assembly election, but turned down the offer to contest from Bhowanipore.

Hours after the news conference, Ghosh met BJP workers from Bhowanipore at a meeting chaired by the party’s Bengal co-minder Amit Malviya to decide on a probable list of candidates for the seat. Sources said a list of three names was sent to the party’s election committee in Delhi.

Congress out of fray

The AICC has decided to not contest the Bhowanipore bypoll, state Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said on Tuesday. “We don’t want to help the BJP by contesting against Mamata Banerjee,” said Chowdhury, a day after he threw his weight firmly in favour of fielding a candidate in Bhowanipore.

Sources in the Bidhan Bhavan said it was also decided that the Congress wouldn’t take part in the campaign either, should its alliance partner, the Left, decide to field a candidate in the bypoll.

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