Hitting out at the BJP state unit for lacking “organisational knowledge”, Bishnupur MP Saumitra Khan Wednesday said that had it not been for the efforts of the party’s central leadership and the RSS, the BJP would have drawn a blank in the Lok Sabha elections. West Bengal.

Khan defeated his former wife and TMC candidate Sujata Mondal in Bishnupur constituency by a margin of 5,567 votes — the lowest among all 42 seats in the state where polling was held during the general elections. While TMC won from 29 seats, the BJP managed 12 — a decline from its 2019 tally of 18. The Congress was reduced to one MP in the state and the Left Front drew a blank.

The three-time MP attributed the Trinamool Congress’ (TMC) higher seat tally to the welfare schemes rolled out by the Mamata Banerjee-led state government and lauded her nephew and Diamond Harbor MP Abhishek Banerjee for “working hard for his party”.

Speaking to reporters, Khan said, “Had it not been for the efforts of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the central BJP leadership, we would not have won the number of seats which we won yesterday. In fact, we would have drawn a blank. There are no experienced leaders in the party who have experienced electoral success in their careers. The leaders also lack organizational knowledge. The TMC won the election thanks to the Lakshmir Bhandar scheme and minority votes. But, it is also true that we could not create a prominent woman leader in the state.”

Festive offer

In a veiled attack, he also accused a section of BJP leaders of having “an understanding with the TMC”. “Maybe some senior leaders of the party entered into an understanding with the TMC. If that had not happened, then we would have won more seats in Bengal. Only experienced leaders can run the state unit of BJP. This seat (Bishnupur) should have been won by a margin of 1 lakh votes. If I was with the TMC, I would have won this seat by a margin of over 2 lakh votes,” said Khan without taking any names.

Khan went on to criticize BJP’s state unit chief Sukanta Majumdar over the Balurghat MP’s “inexperience”. “Suvendu da (Adhikari) tried his best but somehow could not get the desired result. Sukanta Majumdar is new at being a state president and looking after the organization. But due to the inexperience of our organizational leaders, such a result has come. Abhishek Banerjee worked hard for his party. The TMC got this result because Abhishek worked so well. He told TMC workers to target two Assembly segments per Lok Sabha constituency. He had created this system which the BJP could not understand,” he added.

Khan started his political career with the Congress and was elected to the West Bengal Assembly from Katulpur in the 2011 state polls. In 2013, he switched to the TMC, and was elected from Bishnupur Lok Sabha constituency in 2014. In January 2019, he defected to the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
State BJP leaders were not available for comments on Khan’s remarks.

Meanwhile, former Medinipur MP and senior BJP leader Dilip Ghosh said the party needs to examine why it could not maintain its momentum of growth in Bengal after the last assembly polls.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Ghosh said “… conspiracies and backbiting are part of politics. I take them that way. Despite that, I worked hard enough, but success did not come. In politics, everyone walks around with a stick to poke you.” Ghosh lost from Bardhman Durgapur to TMC candidate and former cricketer Kirti Azad. “The party was moving at a faster pace till 2021, which somehow got stuck after that. We could not move at the same pace in which we were moving till 2021. We had hoped a lot this year, but could not perform. There must be some gap. We must examine that. Everything should be discussed,” he said. Ghosh was removed as the state president of the BJP in 2021.

Asked if the change in his constituency had any implication on his electoral fortunes, Ghosh said, “Nothing is impossible. All decisions have implications. People of Bengal will say whether this was right or wrong. When the team asked me, I did it with devotion. I did it with all sincerity. I am a disciplined worker. My party asked me to contest the election, and I contested.” “Bardhaman was a tough seat and people who went there will agree that there was at least some fight in one place… Those who nominated me for this seat will contemplate,” he added.

— With PTI inputs