‘I cracked the code to defeat Mamata’: Dilip Ghosh to BJP's top brass | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘I cracked the code to defeat Mamata’: Dilip Ghosh to BJP's top brass

May 27, 2024 04:42 PM IST

Dilip Ghosh recalls fondly his brush with Sangh from his school days. He comes from West Midnapore, an area known to have strong RSS ground activity.

Down but not out, grinding it out on a difficult wicket. Well, it’s cricket season, but we are not talking about a cricketer, but a politician who has been a talisman behind BJP’s mercurial growth in Bengal. 

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Bardhaman Durgapur seat Dilip Ghosh holds his party symbol 'Lotus' during an election campaign.(ANI file)
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Bardhaman Durgapur seat Dilip Ghosh holds his party symbol 'Lotus' during an election campaign.(ANI file)

Dilip Ghosh, no longer the national vice president or the party chief in Bengal, censured repeatedly for intemperate comments, is in no mood to back down. To use a cricketing analogy, like Sehwag, he prefers to stick to what works for him and hit the ball the way he sees it.

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When quizzed about being sidelined in a party that he has literally built in West Bengal, the veteran politician shrugs off the notion with an air of disdain. Why would he be still sought after by so many candidates for campaigning, comes the sharp retort.

ALSO READ: Dissident Bengal BJP leaders resurface for ex-state president’s poll campaign

 The former BJP state president while denying that he is fixated about creating a legacy makes no bones of the fact that it was he who cracked the code to breach the TMC fortress. Dilip even claims that Suvendu Adhikari, who was perceived as mild-mannered before, has tailored his poll messaging to a much rustic, rabble-rousing style inspired by his antics. 

Dilip, despite being a relatively new entrant to politics after three decade stint with RSS shot into the limelight as state BJP president with his verbal jabs and sharp interjections, which at times ruffled many a feather, some even in his own party.

However, he believes that his bellicose belligerence has helped rejuvenate the morale of beleaguered cadres and attract talent from other political parties, many of whom had an axe to grind with ruling TMC in the state.

ALSO READ: HT Explains: A 5-point FAQ on the Lok Sabha battle in West Bengal

Straight Shooter

Dilip Ghosh, as his reputation goes, shoots straight as an arrow that the local cadres of the Medinipur constituency were disappointed when he was denied a ticket. Some even broke down by his own admission. 

He has no clue why he was given a more difficult assignment but is confident of pulling through against Kirti Azad. Similarly, he makes no bones about the fact that the state BJP deserved cabinet ministers after getting 18 MPs to the kitty. He cites factors like lack of administrative experience and other equations at play to rationalise the decision of central BJP, but totally expects course correction if Modi 3.0 is formed, when probed further.

As we ask about his starting days, Dilip Ghosh recalls fondly his brush with Sangh from his school days. He comes from West Midnapore, an area known to have strong RSS ground activity. 

Despite his natural affection for the Sangh, Dilip agrees with JP Nadda’s assertion that theBJP is now stable enough to run its own ship and it doesn’t need to loan people from affiliates. Incidentally, Dilip himself was loaned from RSS to boost the fledgling Bengal BJP in 2014. In his campaign at Bardhaman-Durgapur, which went to vote on May 13, Dilip Ghosh took help of many old timers who are currently out of favour with the present regime. 

Dilip believes that the party is missing a trick by not taking services of the old warhorse, who had done the hard yards when BJP was merely a footnote in the state.

What If...?

Dilip maintains he enjoys good relationships with stakeholders from all other parties, but has a fairly strong reaction when Mamata Banerjee is named. 

Bypassing the question about naming one good attribute about Didi, Dilip goes on to a tirade about how the West Bengal CM has been resorting to appeasement politics and regarding corruption in every layer of administration in the state. The question regarding his Day 1 priority, if he becomes CM, elicits a guarded response regarding personal goals but Dilip Ghosh makes it clear that fixing law and order, industrialisation and bringing back the lost pride of Bengal will be the order of the day.

Dilip leans into the Bengali pride narrative, at one time pointing out how the freedom fighters from the state took up cudgels against the British, which is antithetical to the mild mannered stereotype now being pushed about them. He doesn’t believe that the typical ‘Bengali ‘bhadralok’ style of discourse is going to make an impact where the opponent is an all-encompassing entity. Dilip bristles at Bengali intellectuals’ disapproval of him touting them as nobody.

When quizzed about whether he really believes Durga Puja is not allowed in a state renowned for its carnival-like celebration of Goddess’ homecoming, Dilip parries the question giving it a political twist. 

He claims the Durga puja organised by BJP functionaries is either being denied permission or given approval very late. He puts the recent OBC reservation struck down by Calcutta High Court to the larger appeasement narrative of Mamata which BJP has carefully cultivated.

Dilip claims that several Sandeshkhalis are located in various parts of the state, where powerful local satraps are exploiting the impoverished. Regarding Mamata’s recent run-in with the Ramkrishna Mission and Bharat Sevasram Sangha, Dilip says that TMC supremo had no issue till the time they canvassed for her candidates. 

Why is Mamata not stopping imams from giving political fatwas, comes the pointed question. He has also made peace with the fact that Muslims won’t be probably voting for BJP in large numbers any time soon. By his own admission he has never urged Muslims to vote for him, though he makes it a point to remind them that development schemes are not discriminating on the basis of voter preference.

Ebar 30 Paar?

Dilip Ghosh is confident of BJP crossing the 30 mark in state and a possible exodus of leaders and workers from TMC post-June 4. When questioned, whether there will be a filter for inclusion in such cases, Dilip virtually admits none exists but makes it a point to say that who becomes leader among the new entrant is prerogative of the top leadership. 

He also claims to have willingly relinquished his post as Bengal party president a couple of years back. As we wrap up the conversation, Dilip says in a playful way that wherever he goes even TMC workers want a selfie with him and he instantly gets mobbed when he stops for chai breaks. 

Well that’s Dilip Ghosh for you, a box office in Bengal with whatever he says or does. Whether the central BJP team agrees is a different matter.

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