A woman leader, either Locket Chatterjee or Debasree Chaudhuri, may replace Dilip Ghosh in the coming weeks.

 

New Delhi: A woman leader is likely to replace West Bengal BJP state president Dilip Ghosh in the coming weeks. The party leadership, as per two Union ministers, has made up its mind to change Ghosh in the wake of the significant complaints that it has received against him following the May Assembly election debacle.

Not just Ghosh, other leaders, including state in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya who were given a prominent role in the run-up to the elections, are going to be axed as the party prepares to repeat the seemingly difficult task of retaining its 18 Lok Sabha seats that it had won in 2019 elections, which, if one goes by the Assembly election results, looks an improbable task.

The two women contenders who are likely to replace Ghosh include Hooghly MP Locket Chatterjee and Raiganj MP and former Union Minister Debasree Chaudhuri. Inputs received by the party leadership, including from the RSS cadre active in the state, suggest that the party could have done better if it had presented its women leaders more prominently during the Assembly election campaign. The Sunday Guardian had written about BJP party leaders demanding a woman-centric campaign in the state in March (“BJP needs women-centric campaign to take on Mamata”).

The objective behind appointing a women face is to counter the TMC’s campaign of presenting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as the only woman face of Bengal. The TMC, in its Assembly election campaign, had prominently raised the slogan of “Bangla Nijer Meyekei Chay (Bengal wants its own daughter)” which, as per inputs received by the party, struck a chord with the voters of the state.

According to one Union minister, Debashree has a better chance of being given the responsibility as she has her strong roots with the RSS, while Locket is a new entrant to the party who joined BJP around 2016 and is considered to be a protégé of Ghosh. The “veto” of the newly emerged face of state BJP and Leader of Opposition, Suvendu Adhikari, will play a prominent role in who of the two gets the position.

Ghosh, who has been at the helm since December 2015, has been accused by state leaders, including by party MPs publicly, of creating and promoting his coterie of state leaders. However, supporters of Ghosh say that the leaders “parachuted” from the Centre demolished the BJP’s Assembly election campaign.

Once Ghosh is changed, the existing district presidents, many of whom are seen as “pro-TMC” will be changed, another Union minister said. Ghosh, a Lok Sabha MP from the Medinipur seat, is presently holidaying in Kashmir and Ladakh and is unlikely to go back to West Bengal before 15 August. Messages sent to Dilip Ghosh seeking his response on the matter did not elicit any response.

A few days ago, Ghosh had come to meet J.P. Nadda to apprise him of the organizational issues in Bengal. During the meeting, it was finalized that a major overhaul of the party will be done, including removing the “turncoats” who had joined the party before the Assembly elections and now have become inactive. Also, the party will be employing a strict screening process before inducting any turncoats.