Dilip Ghosh said that Mamata Banerjee was the only Bengali who can be the next Prime Minister. Was it not a hint of Ghosh tilting towards the TMC?
Kolkata: Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh has dropped a bomb by terming Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee as a frontrunner for the post of the Prime Minister.
This assumes considerable significance with the general elections only a few months away and the BJP appointing election heads for five state and three union territories. In this backdrop, Ghosh's statement in Mamata's praise is being seen as a hint of the Bengal BJP leader's growing proximity to the TMC.
Wishing the Bengal chief minister on her birthday, on Saturday, Ghosh said at a press conference, "I would like to extend my wishes for our chief minister. I sincerely pray for her health and success in life. The fate of our state depends on her success."
Ghosh didn't stop there. He went on to describe why Mamata was the only Bengali who can be the next Prime Minister. "We want her to be fit so that she can work well. She needs to remain fit because if there is any Bengali who has the chance to be the PM from this state, she is the one. So she must remain healthy," announced Ghosh in a press conference, leaving the journalists present, stunned.
After a brief and awkward silence in the room, a journalist asked if anyone from the BJP had a chance to claim the coveted post. It seemed, Ghosh was in the mood to startle further. "We (BJP) can of course have one after Mamata Banerjee. But she stands the first chance. Her (Mamata Banerjee's) name is on top of the list now," said the Bengal BJP chief who is otherwise known for strong anti-Mamata barbs.
Ghosh recounted how the CPI(M) didn't allow former Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu to become the Prime Minister, and Mulayam Singh Yadav had famously said at that time, "If not Jyoti Basu, then no one else (can be the Prime Minister). Then let's go for election." Playing on the Bengali asmita card, Ghosh said, "Now that a Bengali Pranab Mukherjee became the President of India, it's time for another Bengali to become the Prime Minister."
The entire BJP, including Ghosh himself, has always chosen to play the religious (Hindu) card. Playing the regional (Bengali) card now is quite an unexpected posturing.
Meanwhile, Mamata has consistently tried to take up the Bengali pride angle to counter the BJP's efforts at Hindu consolidation. Mamata, very recently, said that the biggest victims of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam were the Bengalis. She even termed the Tinsukia murders to have been an instance of hate crime against Bengalis. The BJP has all along stayed away from that brand of politics since it has to play to the national gallery. But Ghosh's tilt towards the TMC's brand of politics and throwing his weight behind Mamata's Prime Ministerial ambitions can't merely be political courtesy, especially with general election just round the corner.
Is Ghosh repositioning himself and keeping his options open after the BJP's electoral losses in three crucial Hindi heartland states? Even leaders from state unit of the BJP are as clueless.
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Last Updated Jan 6, 2019, 1:31 PM IST