Babul Supriyo, the singer-turned-BJP politician, set off speculation about his possible retirement from politics with a few social media posts this week. The former union minister said he gets positive responses from his followers when he talks about music, and negative publicity when he posts something on politics.
The two-time member of Parliament was among the 12 ministers who were dropped from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet on July 7 as part of a rejig. His fate was likely sealed when he lost to the Trinamool Congress’s Aroop Biswas in the April-May West Bengal assembly elections.
On Thursday, Supriyo wrote in a Facebook post, “I get good and positive responses when I share something about songs/music and not for my social media posts on politics. There are many posts (from friends, fans, well-wishers and followers) who are suggesting that I should stay away from politics, which is forcing me to think deeply about it.”
In continuation, the BJP leader wrote on Friday, “Good Morning. At the outset, in regard to my post yesterday, thank you so much for all the genuine affection showered… in fact, I can’t thank you enough.”
He mentioned that he started his political career not because he wanted to appease everyone around him or those connected to him. “It is not possible to appease all. Therefore, there are some who wrote negative comments because maybe I didn’t behave well with them. Maybe I scolded/screamed at them. A few known people from Asansol also shared their comments. They still remember that I ‘actually’ misbehaved with them but they forget that I also had adda sessions with them over tea, samosa and muri (puffed rice). They forget that I played football with them in muddy fields. I accept their feelings. I don’t have anything against them,” he wrote, while adding that there are many who inspired him and he is quite impressed with some of the posts.
During the first term of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government, Supriyo served as a minister of state for urban development, housing and urban poverty alleviation from November 2014 to July 2016, and minister of state for heavy industries and public enterprises from July 2016 to May 2019. He also served as minister of state for environment.
After he was dropped from the union cabinet on July 7, he first claimed on social media that he was asked to step down but soon deleted the post and simply wrote that he had resigned from the council of ministers.
He also said, “When there is smoke, there must be a fire somewhere,” maintaining that he was “extremely happy" to go “without a spot of corruption on him".
The Asansol MP has also had a difficult relationship with state BJP president Dilip Ghosh.
On January 12, 2020, Ghosh courted controversy by saying that those who damage public property should be shot “like in Uttar Pradesh". Supriyo termed his statement irresponsible.
In 2017, he took to Twitter and said that Ghosh had asked him not to interfere in the party’s organisational work in Asansol. Trouble began after BJP councillor Emmanuel Wheeler, also known as Bapi (in Asansol), joined the Trinamool Congress. Wheeler was unhappy with the district leadership and discussed the matter with Supriyo. The MP then brought up the matter with the state BJP chief. Afterwards, Supriyo tweeted, “Dilip Da (Dilip Ghosh) has told me that running the organisation is not the job of an MP or MLA. So I do not interfere in the organisation any more. You carry out your work. I was with you, I will be with you.”
In his Facebook post on Friday, Supriyo also said, “It would be unfair if I end my post abruptly; therefore I would like to mention the last two points. The first one is, during my childhood, I used to love it when people called me intelligent. But I would hate it if someone called me cunning. I hate that even today. The second point is, I can be anything…people can call me whatever they feel like…but I am not disloyal, a backstabber, or an opportunist. That’s all…I don’t want to comment on anything else.”