BJP state chiefs lose ground in Lok Sabha strongholds in Bengal panchayat polls
Both West Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar and national vice president Dilip Ghosh have lost considerable ground in their strongholds
If the results of the recently-concluded panchayat elections in West Bengal are any indication for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, neither current state BJP President Sukanta Majumdar, nor ex-state unit chief Dilip Ghosh are in a position to breath easy.
In case of Ghosh’s Lok Sabha constituency of Midnapore in West Midnapore district, BJP’s performance has been pathetic in all the three tiers of the panchayat system.
At gram panchayat level, the BJP managed to secure victory in only 217 out of the 1,326 seats, while the ruling Trinamool Congress swept the poll with 1,047 seats. While the saffron party bagged just 11 out of the 199 panchayat samiti seats, its candidates drew a blank at the zilla parishad level.
BJP insiders, however, feel that it would be wrong to forecast the fate of Ghosh, currently the national vice-president of the BJP, in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections based on the panchayat poll results.
“The panchayat areas which come under the Midnapore Lok Sabha constituency are just part of the entire area. A major part of the area under this Lok Sabha constituency comes under three municipalities -- Egra, Kharagpur and Midnapore -- where the BJP has strong presence.
"In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, when Ghosh won by a margin of around 89,000 votes, he got the maximum lead from these three municipal areas,” pointed out a state committee leader of the BJP.
Similar is the case of Majumdar’s Lok Sabha constituency of Balurghat in South Dinajpur district, where the performance of the BJP in the panchayat polls has been far from satisfactory.
At the gram panchayat level, BJP's tally stood at 276, whereas Trinamool bagged as many as 784 seats. At the panchayat samiti level, BJP won just 21 seats as against Trinamool's 142, while all the 16 zilla parishad seats went in favour of the ruling party.
Here too, BJP insiders maintained that the panchayats are just part of the Balurghat Lok Sabha constituency, where the party has a strong presence in the areas under the municipalities.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Majumdar had won by a margin of over 33,000 votes.