(With additional inputs and political reax) Kolkata, Jan 16 (PTI) With an eye on the 2021 assembly polls the BJP on Thursday re-elected Dilip Ghosh, who is credited for the growth of the saffron party in West Bengal, as president of its state unit for the second consecutive term.
Ghosh being the only nominee for the post was elected unopposed as West Bengal BJP president for 2020-2023 at the state committee meeting here, party sources said.
BJP national general secretary Murlidhar Rao handed over the certificate to him.
Ghosh's re-election to the top post came just days after his controversial remark that anti-CAA protesters 'were shot like dogs' in BJP-ruled states drew sharp criticism both from the opposition and his party men.
Opposition parties said Ghosh's re-election is a reflection of the endorsement of 'hardline Hindutva' by BJP top brass.
During Ghosh's tenure as its state president, BJP witnessed a meteoric rise in West Bengal bagging 18 out of the 42 parliamentary seats in the state.
After his re-election Ghosh said he will fight to win the 2021 assembly polls in the state. 'I will continue to fight and won't stop till BJP forms the next government in West Bengal,' he said.
Hitting out at the opposition, Ghosh said 'There are a few people who are criticising me for my comments. I want to make myself clear that the time has come for BJP (to form the government in Bengal). Earlier, they (parties opposed to BJP) used to speak and we listened, now we will speak and they will listen'.
According to state BJP sources, Ghosh's re-election reaffirms the confidence that the party's top brass has in him ahead of the crucial assembly polls.
'The West Bengal assembly poll will be the most crucial one for us. With just a year left for it, the party top leadership felt that they need a leader like Dilip Ghosh to lead the state unit. Despite his controversial remarks, his credit in the growth of the party cannot be taken away,' a senior BJP leader said.
Known to be a good organizer Ghosh is very popular among the rank file of BJP for his affable nature.
Ghosh's controversial remarks made time and again had not gone down well either with the opposition parties or with leaders from his own party. He, however, remained unnerved and did not retract.
In November, 2019 he had said there are traces of gold in the milk of Indian cows, a comment which too had courted controversy. Ghosh, However, stuck to it.
Speaking about the re-election of Ghosh, Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said it reflects the endorsement of the 'Hindutva hard line' by BJP top brass in Bengal.
'The kind of comments Ghosh had made in the last few years clearly indicate that he endorses the Hindutva hard line. So his re-election clearly shows that BJP top brass is endorsing his political line in Bengal,' Chowdhury told reporters.
His views were echoed by senior CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty.
Senior TMC leader Tapas Roy said, 'It is an internal matter of the BJP as to who should be its state president. But I feel BJP should keep a tab on the kind of statements Dilip Ghosh is making everyday,' Tapas Roy said.
Ghosh was first appointed the state BJP president in December 2015. Though his term ended in December 2018, he was asked to continue for a year due to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in which he won the Midnapore seat.
55-year-old Ghosh, an old RSS hand, was deputed to the party in 2015 and was elected MLA from Kharagpur Sadar seat in 2016. But he resigned as MLA after being elected MP from Midnapore Lok Sabha seat in the 2019 parliamentary polls. PTI PNT KK KK