The BJP MP from Barrackpore says Mamata Banerjee is soon going to get rid of Prashant Kishor as she has no use for his ‘non-violent’ methods.



New Delhi: Arjun Singh, BJP Member of Parliament (MP) from Barrackpore, is regarded by the party leadership as someone who will be among the flag-bearers of BJP in West Bengal in the coming years. Singh, who traces his ancestry to Arrah district of Bihar, spoke to The Sunday Guardian over the alleged infighting among the top leaders of the state, on polarisation and on the pact between Mamata Banerjee and Prashant Kishor. Excerpts:

Q: Do you believe that the BJP stands a better chance of winning the 2021 West Bengal Assembly elections if it projects a CM face?

A: See, BJP is a national party. Whether to give a CM face or not is a decision that is taken by the established system within the party and the national leadership. I personally feel that a CM face would help the party’s prospects in the state.

Q: A lot of activity has been seen in the recent past with party MPs from the state and other leaders coming to Delhi, meeting the national leadership including party president J.P. Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah. Reportedly, a presentation was also made by the state party president Dilip Ghosh on the party’s prospects in the elections. Reports of infighting, too, have emerged. What is the reality? Has the infighting subsided?

A: There was no controversy, no infighting. Everything is the handiwork of Prashant Kishor (political strategist who is working with the TMC). There was a meeting of BJP district leaders, MPs and observers regarding the election and discussions regarding the elections took place where guidelines were issued related to elections. No question-answer session took place. How does the question of dissatisfaction or disagreement arise? This was fake news that was spread by Kishor using certain media organisations. This was an example of dirty politics. We have already issued a legal notice to the media organisation which was behind this.

Q: But Mukul Roy suddenly left Delhi even as the meeting was going on, which gave credence to the speculation regarding the infighting?

A: Mukul Roy was not well. He needed to get an injection on his retina, and he has been getting the treatment for it at the Disha hospital in Kolkata. When he is getting treated at Kolkata and the doctors here know what kind of treatment he needs, it is unfair to expect that he will get the treatment in Delhi. That’s why he came back to Kolkata.

Q: So there is no internal conflict between Dilip Ghosh and Mukul Roy?

A: Nothing, nothing. In a political party, people say a lot of things during discussions, but that does not mean that there is a difference or conflict. BJP is not a regional party where a particular leader can get the post of his choice on the basis of his lobbying. It is a national party. There are 156 organisations that support the BJP. Lobbying does not work here. Important decisions in BJP are taken after a lot of deliberations among the various levels of party workers and leaders. This is not TMC where whims and fancies of individuals decide the stand of the party.

Q: Swapan Dasgupta had recently tweeted implying that some BJP leaders are secretly helping the TMC. How would you respond to this? (Gupta had tweeted on May 4: “It is not merely tarmuj (watermelon) that had political significance in Bengal. The kharbuja is increasingly making its presence felt—saffron on the outside and green inside.”)

A: This can only be answered by Swapan Dasgupta himself. He is a veteran leader, why did he tweet and when did he tweet is something I am not aware of.

Q: Dilip Ghosh has reportedly told the party leadership that they are going to win at least 190 seats in the Assembly. How realistic a number is this?

A: I am not aware that he has claimed that we are going to win 190 plus seats in a presentation. As far as the present situation in the state is concerned, we are going to win on more than 2/3rd seats (there are 294 elected seats in the state, 2/3rd of which is 196), I can assure you that much.

Q: The media believes that the TMC is going to gain a lot due to the fact that it has engaged Prashant Kishor. How do you read this?

A: Prashant Kishor ko woh kuch din mai maar ke bhaga dengi (she will throw out Prashant Kishor in the coming days). She is someone who is not going to listen to his suggestions, she is known for winning elections by using violence. People like Kishor won’t give such suggestions because they know elections are not contested or won now by using such methods now. This engagement between Mamata and Kishor won’t last for long.

Q: Has polarisation happened in the state? How strong is it?

A: Polarisation has happened on the lines of pro-Mamata and anti-Mamata. Her handling of the Cyclone Amphan crisis and Covid-19 has blown the lid of her inefficient government. There is no peace in the state when it comes to social, religious or political aspects. The health system has collapsed and it is the poor people who have suffered the most due to this. There is a complete failure of administration. A large number of people will vote by keeping these things in mind, while a few, who have got something from the government,
will vote for Mamata Banerjee.