I'm Emotionally Attached to Cows, Stick to My Stand on Golden Milk, Says BJP's Bengal Chief Dilip Ghosh
File photo of Bengal BJP president DIlip Ghosh.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had appointed Dilip Ghosh as its Bengal unit president in 2015. In the last four years, the saffron camp has seen meteoric rise under his leadership. The party’s vote share in the Lok Sabha elections increased from 17 % in 2014 to 42% in 2019.
The rise of Ghosh, who had until recent years almost nil influence in Bengal politics, has come as a rude shock for Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee.
He joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a pracharak in 1984 and was later made in-charge of the Sangh in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and even worked as an assistant to former RSS chief KS Sudarshan.
In an exclusive interview to News18, Ghosh shared more about his party’s mission in Bengal and the recent controversy over his statement on cow milk containing gold.
What is the present position of BJP in Bengal under your leadership for the last four years?
See, the BJP is growing in Bengal and the growth is beyond what we had expected. Many would not believe this, but it is a fact that there is a strong BJP wave in rural Bengal and districts adjoining Kolkata. At present, the Trinamool Congress is on a back foot because of its faulty strategy at the ground level. Every day, we are facing problems from the ruling party, but despite that, we are growing because people have decided to shun the TMC.
I want to put this through statistics: In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the TMC got 2.47 crore votes, while we got 2.30 crore votes. The difference was only about 17 lakh. In comparison, we got only 86 lakh votes in 2014. Our vote share has increased from 17% in 2014 to 42% in 2019. These figures are there in public domain and this is enough to substantiate our claim that the BJP is growing in Bengal.
How many booths you have managed to secure? How many seats you are expecting to win in the 2021 Assembly elections?
Of the 78,828 booths, we have completed/restructured our committees in 70,000 booths. Only 10% Muslim-dominated booths are left where we are facing problems. People belonging to the Muslim community in Malda, Murshidabad, East Midnapore and South 24-Parganas want to join the BJP, but they are a bit hesitant.
However, we are hopeful that the problem would be resolved soon. In the Assembly polls, we are hopeful of winning 200 seats. This is our target. Many may not accept it now, but we are surely going to form the government in Bengal in 2021. No one believed us when we claimed to win 20-22 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal. We were close to our target with 18 constituencies in our kitty.
In a couple of seats, we expected better performance, but could not win. Nevertheless, the jump from two to 18 seats is big and the party’s overall position in Bengal is good and positive.
If you come to power in 2021 in Bengal, who would be your chief ministerial face? Like in Uttar Pradesh, if the BJP’s central leadership decided to anoint someone else as the CM of Bengal, what would be your stand?
I am not greedy for any post, position and chair. I have got more than I had expected. I never thought I would become an MLA and MP. My job is to work hard for the party and it’s up to the party’s top leadership to decide who it would want as the chief minister or project as a CM face.
Usually, the BJP doesn’t project a CM face. There are several party leaders in Bengal who are suitable for the post of chief minister. Whatever the party decides, it would be acceptable to me without any regret. I am a hardcore party worker and a post or position never excites me.
What is your biggest hurdle in achieving your 2021 mission in West Bengal?
The biggest problem is police atrocity on our party workers. Here, police are working on instructions of Trinamool Congress leaders. They are arresting our workers by slapping false narcotics and rioting cases. They are working as TMC cadres. In a police station, they don’t accept written complaints from us against TMC leaders or workers. Despite all this, we are moving ahead in Bengal as people want us to stand beside them against corruption and atrocities of the ruling TMC.
How you are preparing for the 2020 Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) elections? How confident are you of wresting KMC from the ruling camp?
Our performance in the Lok Sabha elections was quite impressive. Though we lost some of the seats we were hoping to win, but the overall performance was good. We are now certainly aiming big for the civic polls. Before that, we have by-polls in three seats (Kaliagunj, Karimpur and Kharagpur Sadar).
Our first target is the by-polls, then the KMC polls to set the stage for the 2021 Assembly elections. We have made noticeable progress in Bengal. Apart from bagging the 18 parliamentary seats, we also did well in nearly 51 of the 144 wards (as per the last count) under the KMC. Hence, we are hopeful of a good show in the civic polls. In south and north Kolkata, we took the lead in nearly 24 and 26 wards, respectively.
You made a statement that intellectuals are basically cowards and opportunists who are only interested in getting benefits from the government? Bengal being the city of intellectuals don’t you think such a comment could dampen your mission?
Do you have any doubt? So many people from both the TMC and BJP camps died/killed and no one bothered to raise their voice. Where were they, when a man, his pregnant wife and child were killed? They are opportunists and plan their protest according to their vested interests. They are not bothered about Bengal, but they are bothered about how Mohammed Akhlaq died (in lynching in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri in 2015).
Whether he died due to dog bite or snake bite no one knows, but these intellectuals took no time to hit the streets. They are only interested in getting benefits from the government.
You said eating beef is ‘maha aparaadh’ (grave sin) and claimed that cow milk has gold in it. Do you actually mean it or you simply said it for publicity?
I am emotionally attached to cows. A cow is like my mother. Unfortunately, there are people belonging to the educated society who take a lot of pride in having beef in public. My suggestion is why cow, have dog meat also. But whatever you choose to have, please do that inside your house. Don’t take pride in having it in public, because it is an attack on my emotion and all those people who consider cow as their mother. Killing a cow is ‘maha aparadh’ for me. Cow is our mother and we will never tolerate if someone kills our mother. It’s like torturing our mother. Who would tolerate if someone tortures our mother.
The ruling government here is protecting beef eaters, but that does not mean that we will keep our mouth shut. As far as, gold in cow milk is concerned, there are several researches on this. I am still sticking to my point and I will update this from time to time through my social media posts.