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Ripples in BJP over Saumitra Khan's ‘CM Dilip’ remark

The state chief of the party’s youth wing received the dressing-down from Shivprakash, Kailash Vijavargiya and Amitava Chakraborty
Dilip Ghosh

Arkamoy Datta Majumdar   |   Calcutta   |   Published 18.01.21, 01:14 AM

At least three senior Bengal BJP leaders reportedly rebuked Bishnupur MP Saumitra Khan on Sunday for publicly claiming that state president Dilip Ghosh would be the next chief minister if the party came to power.

Khan, who is also the state chief of the BJP’s youth wing, received the dressing-down from Shivprakash, Kailash Vijavargiya and Amitava Chakraborty.

While Shivprakash is the national joint general secretary (organisation), Vijavargiya is a national general secretary and the BJP’s minder for the state. Amitava Chakraborty is the state general secretary (organisation) of the BJP.

“Shivprakashji, Kailashji and Amitavada rebuked Saumitra at the meeting in front of Dilipda himself,” a source in the BJP said. “He was asked to control his tongue. Kailashji even told him that he would be even showcaused if he repeated such statements,” a BJP insider said.

Khan was told that BJP MLAs and the party's parliamentary committee would decide on the chief minister.

While addressing a rally in West Midnapore’s Deuli recently, Khan had said Ghosh would be Bengal’s next chief minister.

“Dilipda is a true leader. He didn’t even start his own family. I firmly believe that he is going to be chief minister one day,” Khan had publicly said.

Sunday’s meeting was convened to discuss a series of important organisational issues.

“The party hasn’t given us any clarity over who is going to be the next CM. Union home minister Amit Shah has only said that it will be a son of the soil. However, there are multiple chief ministerial aspirants in our party already,” a state BJP office-bearer said.

According to BJP sources, Ghosh is undoubtedly a major contender for the top post if the party won majority in the coming Assembly elections. However, multiple names including party’s Rajya Sabha member Swapan Dasgupta, Union minister Babul Supriyo, MP Locket Chatterjee and Trinamul turncoat Suvendu Adhikari, keep doing rounds as possible CM candidate.

Khan’s comment will not go down well with the other leaders, a party source said.

This person added that the leaders had sent a message to Ghosh as well by rebuking Khan as the Bishnupur MP wouldn’t have made a public speech on this issue without endorsement from Ghosh.

While the incident of Khan being rebuked has made the anti-Ghosh lobby happy, leaders close to Ghosh were upset.

“The reprimand in public was too harsh... besides, there is no doubt that Dilipda is the tallest BJP leader in the state,” said a source.

The BJP state leaders are working on a plan to hold a rath yatra in Bengal sometime during the next month in the run up to the polls. The rath yatra, which is being tentatively called the Poriborton Yatra or a rally for change, is going to cover all 294 Assembly seats in the state.

On Sunday, leaders from the five organisational zones of the party were asked to form five different committees in their respective zones  for the programme. “The plan is to bring out five different chariot rallies from each of the zones,” a source said.

State president Dilip Ghosh said that preliminary talks had been held on the rally, but nothing concrete had been decided.

“Our plan is to do the rally on the lines of the Ganatantro Bachao Yatra, which we had planned in 2019,” Ghosh said. The Ganatantro Bachao Yatra was planned in Bengal ahead of the 2019 parliamentary polls, but was later cancelled since the party failed to obtain the necessary permissions.


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