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Bengal BJP will not give up NRC demand, says Dilip Ghosh

Ghosh was confident that the TMC’s high-voltage campaign on NRC and Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) will boomerang.

Updated: Feb 27, 2020 18:10 IST

By Snigdhendu Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times Kolkata

BJP State President Dilip Ghosh says party will continue to press for NRC in West Bengal (Samir Jana/HT PHOTO/File)

Bharatiya Janata Party’s Bengal unit president Dilip Ghosh says the party would keep demanding implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Bengal to save its ‘demographic character’.

Ghosh’s advocacy for NRC, expressed in an interview with HT, comes at a time when the Centre has declared it is not looking to expand the exercise beyond Assam currently and pleas challenging its validity are before the Supreme Court.

“I will keep demanding NRC in Bengal. It’s a must to protect the state’s cultural and demographic character. Bengal’s situation is worse than Assam,” said Ghosh, who was elected as the state unit president for a second term in January.

The 55-year-old, who served the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for three decades before joining the BJP in 2014, is a Lok Sabha MP from Midnapore.

Responding to his remark, Tapas Roy, a spokesperson of Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress party, said, “Let him speak. The more he speaks the better for us. Our leader Mamata Banerjee has made it clear that NRC will not be allowed in the state.”

Ghosh said that the BJP will fight the 2021 Assembly elections over ideological issues, corruption and alleged lack of democracy in TMC’s regime.

He added that the “ideological issues” included “saving West Bengal from turning into West Bangladesh”.

“Ours is an ideology-driven party. Ideological issues will always remain at the forefront. Besides, we will highlight how a lack of democracy and rampant corruption in TMC’s regime are hindering the state’s development,” Ghosh said.

He agreed that the TMC had regained some of the lost ground after the Lok Sabha elections but was confident of gaining an upper hand over Mamata’s party, now, that the party was creating structure in the state.

“In 2015, we had committees in less than 30% of the state’s 78,000-odd polling booths. Now, we have them in more than 80% of the booths. About 350 workers left their homes to give full-time to the party for one to five years. They included RSS Swayamsevaks with experience in organisational work. We have gained from experienced Left organisers who joined the BJP. We are consistently getting above 35% votes in all sorts of elections. If anyone can challenge TMC in Bengal, it’s us,” he said.

For a leader who has perhaps courted more controversies with his speeches than any other politician in Bengal in the recent years, Ghosh was rather proud.

“I am an RSS man. I call a spade a spade. No one dared to expose the intellectuals, I did. I am not afraid of telling hard truths,” Ghosh said.

“Moreover, I have learned the political language from those who dominated politics in Bengal before I entered politics. Now, people of Bengal have accepted my language,” he added.

Speaking on the municipal polls, likely to be held in about a hundred civic bodies in April, being seen as a ‘semi-final’ before the Assembly elections – Ghosh said that the party would persuade senior leaders of the state unit, excluding members of the Parliament, to contest the civic polls “so that people get the message about the party’s seriousness”.

According to him, BJP was weak organisationally only in and around Kolkata.

Ghosh was confident that the TMC’s high-voltage campaign on NRC and Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) will boomerang.

“TMC’s has turned into villains in the eyes of the refugees by opposing CAA. Whatever confusion some of the refugees may still be in will be cleared,” Ghosh said.

The state BJP will felicitate union home minister Amit Shah for bringing in CAA on March 1 in Kolkata.


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