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Dilip Ghosh Rakes Up ‘Old Vs New’ Debate After Bengal Upset

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If the BJP performance in the 2021 assembly election led to a huge loss of face for the BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari, the result of the parliamentary election in the state has done him no favours. A guarded criticism — seen as directed at Mr Adhikari, the Leader of the Opposition — came today from Dilip Ghosh, who led the state party during the 2019 general election and achieved far better results.

In a post on Facebook, Mr Ghosh quoted Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the late Prime Minister, some of whose maxims are still considered gold standard by the party.

“Keep one thing in mind, even one old Karyakarta of the party should not be neglected. If necessary, let ten new Karyakartas get separated. Because the old workers are the guarantee of our victory. Trusting new Karyakartas too quickly is not advisable,” the post read.

The BJP, which won an unprecedented 18 of Bengal’s 42 parliamentary seats in 2019, was given a target of 30 this year by the party’s chief strategist Amit Shah. It managed to win 12, with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress gaining back most of the lost ground.

Mr Ghosh had faced a shock defeat from the Bardhaman-Durgapur seat in the hands of the ruling Trinamool Congress’s Kirti Azad by nearly 1.38 lakh votes. The senior leader was shifted from the his Medinipur seat to Bardhaman-Durgapur to replace outgoing MP SS Ahluwalia, with the idea that he would be able to win the tough fight brewing.

Two other reshuffles also backfired. Mr Ahluwalia, who was moved to Asansol and the BJP’s sitting MLA from Asansol Dakshin, Agnimitra Paul, who was shifted to Medinipur, both lost to Trinamool candidates.

Though the party’s central election committee had signed off on the reshuffle, it was said to be the brainchild Suvendu Adhikari, who crossed over from Trinamool ahead of the 2021 assembly polls.

The man who replaced Mr Ghosh as the party chief is also a Trinamool import — Sukanta Majumdar, Trinamool’s first-time MP from Balurghat — was made the BJP chief in September 20211, after the BJP rout in the assembly polls.

But more than him, the BJP’s big hope was Mr Adhikari, who had delivered in 2021, beating Mamata Banerjee from Nandigram, the Ground Zero of her party’s rise to power.

But after the rout, the BJP saw a reverse exodus — leaders who crossed over on the heels of Mr Adhikari — made a prompt return to Trinamool Congress.  Still, the party was confident that it would make bigger inroads into the state during parliamentary elections.

 If the BJP performance in the 2021 assembly election led to a huge loss of face for the BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari, the result of the parliamentary election in the state has done him no favours    

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