Sukanta Majumdar replaces Dilip Ghosh as Bengal BJP president
Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh has been removed from his post and replaced with Sukanta Majumdar, MP from Balurghat in South Dinajpur.
Ghosh, 57, has been appointed a national vice-president of the BJP. He had been made the party’s state president in 2015, a year after the RSS had loaned him to the party.
The sudden change of guard coincides with a slew of defections from the state BJP after its crushing defeat in the Assembly elections.
Multiple sources said the removal of Ghosh, whose term was scheduled to end in November, was primarily triggered by the departure of former Union minister Babul Supriyo, who joined Trinamul on Saturday.
“Dilipda’s term was to end this November and the broad consensus was that he would be allowed to complete his second term.… The series of defections in Bengal after the polls, and especially Babul’s exit, have hastened the change at the top,” a source said.
The BJP had won 77 seats in the Assembly polls but the number has now fallen to 71, besides the loss of Supriyo, an MP.
The news of the change of guard came around 8.30pm. Around three hours before the announcement, Ghosh had attended a news conference at his home in Calcutta and sources close to him said he had appeared unaware of the imminent change.
“At Babul’s multiple meetings with the party’s central leadership after he had been dropped as a central minister, he had blamed Ghosh for the inner-party strife in Bengal. Several other leaders from the state, including some MPs, had also complained against Dilipda’s style of functioning, and especially his style of communication,” the source added.
Unlike Ghosh, Majumdar, 42, measures his words and is known to maintain a low profile. The appointment of Majumdar, a PhD in botany, is significant as this is the first time the state BJP is getting a president from north Bengal, a region where the party performed much better than in other parts of Bengal.
A state BJP leader said the appointment of Majumdar, who cut his teeth in the RSS before joining the party in 2019, was aimed at addressing the problem of inner-party differences.
“Dilipda and Suvendu Adhikari were having regular tiffs as both are high-profile leaders.… Now the party has taken a decision that will allow all the focus to be on Suvendu while Sukanta will be doing the organisational work,” a source said.
Some BJP insiders wondered whether Majumdar, not known to too many party workers beyond north Bengal, would be able to discharge the responsibilities of party president at a crucial time like the present.
“This is shocking. After all, Dilipda led our journey from being a zero to becoming the most crucial Opposition party in the state. The most important question is, how many people know Sukanta?” a state BJP functionary said.
Majumdar, a cousin of former Union minister and MP Debashree Chaudhuri, told reporters in Balurghat that his priority would be strengthening the party in the state.
“I shall work towards further strengthening the sturdy foundation of our party created by Dilipda. We need to strengthen the BJP for the betterment of Bengal and Bengalis,” the MP said.
Ghosh welcomed the change of guard. “It is only natural that a change would come. I had met Naddaji in July where I was told that there would be a parivartan, a change of guard…. It’s all right. I’ve been given a new task. The new president will need time to prepare since the panchayat polls are due in a year and a half. We are all with him.”