Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Bengal unit’s new president, the young Sukanta Majumdar, has accused Mamata Banerjee’s ruling Trinamool Congress (AITC) of imposing a Taliban-like regime in the state while hailing his predecessor Dilip Ghosh as the most successful state president in the party’s national history and gave a call to move ahead as a team comprising the youth and veterans.
A day after being appointed as state president, Majumdar, the Bengal unit’s youngest chief, alleged that many Hindu supporters of the BJP were killed by members of a minority community during post-poll violence. He did not name the community.
“This was never Bengal’s culture though political clashes are not new. It is a fact that minority community members of the BJP have also been attacked. Sadly, Bengal’s intellectuals have not said a word. They prefer enjoying champagne in the evening,” said Sukanta Majumdar, a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) member who entered electoral politics in 2019 when he contested and won the Balurghat Lok sabha seat in north Bengal.
Addressing party leaders and the media at the BJP state office in West Bengal capital Kolkata, Majumdar said, “Talibanisation does not mean some people in long garbs going around with guns. Killing people who practice a different ideology or follow a rival party is real Talibanisation.”
“We saw it when a young man and even his pet dog were killed on the streets of Kolkata,” said Majumdar, referring to the murder of BJP worker Abhijit Sarkar in the city’s Narkeldanga area on 2 May when the assembly poll results were announced. The case is being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
“We will oust Mamata Banerjee’s Taliban government at any cost. Even if we consider for argument’s sake that the Trinamool Congress can win all 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal in 2024, Narendra Modi will still become the prime minister. The AITC’s dream will never come true. Today, I promise to give the BJP more than 18 Lok Sabha seats in the next polls,” said Majumdar.
The state BJP leadership, the party’s national deputy observer for Bengal, Amit Malviya, and three former state presidents, Ashim Ghosh, Tathagata Roy and Rahul Sinha, attended the programme held to felicitate Majumdar and Ghosh, who is now a national vice-president.
The only prominent face missing at the event was Suvendu Adhikari, the leader of the opposition in the assembly.
Majumdar said, “There is no need to speculate. Adhikari is holding a campaign rally at Jangipur in Murshidabad district. I was supposed to be there today but last evening, our national general secretary BL Santhosh called me to say that I have to take up a new responsibility. He did specify what it was. The announcement was made late in the evening.”
Assembly elections in Jangipur and Samserganj in Murshidabad could not be held in March-April as the AITC candidates fielded from these seats died of Covid-19. Both seats will go to the polls on 30 September along with Kolkata’s Bhawanipore from where Mamata Banerjee is contesting.
“Our strategy for Bhawanipore is working well. Trinamool bigwigs who earlier ridiculed our candidate Priyanka Tibrewal are now getting irritated on hearing her name. Mamata Banerjee is campaigning every day. She recently visited a mosque. Islam does not permit women to enter mosques. I see this as an insult to Islam, said Majumdar.
Md Yahiya, chairman of the West Bengal Imams Association, promptly challenged Majumdar.
“The Qur’an does not say anywhere that women cannot enter mosques. The Prophet never said it. The BJP leader is absolutely wrong. Moreover, a mosque’s committee decides who will be given entry. It is not the prerogative of a party like the BJP,” Md Yahiya said, in response to a question by media.
Asked what he thought of Dilip Ghosh’s 2019 remark that Indian cow milk contains gold, Majumdar, a professor with a doctoral degree in botany, said, “Dilip da said this because a scientific paper published at that time said elements of gold were found in the milk of Indian cows. A plant called Equisetum grows in areas that have gold deposits. It does not mean Equisetum can produce gold.”
Though found in the wild in many countries, some varieties of Equisetum grow in parts of the US and Alaska where the ground is mineralized with metals such as copper, gold and zinc, according to some research papers.
Majumdar heaped praises at Ghosh, who sat next to him at the Press conference.
“He (Dilip Ghosh) is the most successful state president. Under his leadership, the number of BJP MLAs rose from three to 77 and we won 18 Lok Sabha seats. This will be etched in gold in the BJP’s national history. Even ministers in other states long to hear his speech. Bengal BJP leaders never reached the national level because they could not speak Hindi fluently. Dilip Da has been chosen for a national role because he is an exception. But we will urge the party to ensure that he spends the maximum time in Bengal.”
Admitting that the state unit is going through a bad phase because of an exodus of BJP leaders to AITC, Majumdar said, “Failure in any election demoralises party workers. There is nothing new about it. Those who believe in ideology will stay. They are in majority. The deserters should evaluate their decision.”
“We made some strategic mistakes. Those are being analyzed,” he said.
AITC Rajya Sabha member Sukhendu Sekhar Roy promptly hit back at the Taliban barb. “The Talibanisaton he is talking about can be seen in BJP-ruled states. Majumdar should check the facts first,” the AITC leader said.