Did wrong choice of candidates for certain seats cost BJP dear in Bengal?

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | June 05, 2024 IST

BJP

Kolkata, June 5 : After the BJP in West Bengal suffered an unexpected setback in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections with its seat share coming down from 18 in 2019 to 12 this time, introspections have begun as to what cost the party a handful of seats in the state. 

There are talks in certain quarters that some wrong policies in the selection of seat-wise candidates might have upset the equations of the BJP on a number of seats in West Bengal. 

The two Lok Sabha constituencies whose names are coming up in this context are Medinipur in West Midnapore district and Bardhaman-Durgapur in West Burdwan district. 

In 2019, then state BJP President Dilip Ghosh was elected from Medinipur by a massive margin. However, the party leadership decided to shift Ghosh from Medinipur to Bardhaman- Durgapur this time, a decision that left many within the party baffled. 

Those close to Ghosh in the state BJP questioned the decision, claiming that Ghosh not only nurtured the constituency in the past five years, but also established a strong organisational base of the party in Medinipur. 

However, the claims were countered with theories that being a seasoned organisational man, Ghosh will ensure his and the party’s victory in Bardhaman-Durgapur, a seat the BJP won even in 2019 by a wafer-thin margin after Surendrajeet Singh Ahluwalia defeated Trinamool Congress' Mamtaz Sanghamita by 2,439 votes.

 However, this time the results were disastrous for the BJP in both Bardhaman-Durgapur and Medinipur. 

While Ghosh lost from Bardhaman-Durgapur against former India cricketer and Trinamool nominee Kirti Azad by 1,37,981 votes, in Medinipur, BJP's fashion designer-turned-politician Agnimitra Paul lost to Trinamool's actress-turned-politician June Malia by 27,191 votes. 

On Wednesday, Ghosh indirectly blamed the party leadership for the wrong decisions on candidate selection. 

“If clashes between personal interests and wrong policies make the efforts of the common party workers fruitless, it will be difficult to motivate them in the future,” he said. 

On the other hand, Saumitra Khan, the sitting BJP MP from Bishnupur who got re-elected, made no qualms in claiming that the decision to shift Ghosh from Medinipur was wrong. 

“I can say for certain that we would not have lost Medinipur had Dilip-da not been shifted from there. Similarly, we might have also retained the Bardhaman- Durgapur Lok Sabha had the sitting MP from there been re-nominated,” Khan said. 

Besides Medinipur and Bardhaman-Durgapur, sources said the choice of candidates for two other constituencies is also under the scanner in the internal introspections of the party -- Asansol in West Burdwan district, and Diamond Harbour in South 24 Parganas district. 

Ahead of the polls, the BJP shifted the sitting party MP from Bardhaman-Durgapur, S.S. Ahluwalia, to Asansol. The decision came at a time when Ahluwalia's opponent and Trinamool's sitting MP actor Shatrughan Sinha had already completed a few rounds of campaigning. 

In the elections, Sinha defeated Ahluwalia by over 59,500 votes. 

Also, sources said the late selection of Abhijit Das a.k.a. Bobby as the BJP candidate from Diamond Harbour with little over a month left before polling also cost the party dearly, given that Bobby was up against Trinamool heavyweight and the party's sitting MP Abhishek Banerjee. 

In the end, Abhishek Banerjee won the elections by a record margin of over 7 lakh votes. 

The choice of Bobby as the party nominee against a big name like Abhishek Banerjee, that too so late, has now put a question mark over BJP's seriousness in fielding nominees against heavyweight ruling party opponents.   (IANS)

 

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