A former Bengal cricket captain has left the Trinamool Congress. The other has been speculated that he would be the face of Bengal BJP in the 2021 West Bengal Assembly elections. And now the daughter of the late cricket administrator Jagmohan Dalmiya, Vaishali Dalmiya, Trinamool MLA of the Bally Assembly constituency, has raised concerns about the state of Trinamool Congress. The supply rate at the Trinamool Congress just got too high.
I asked Vaishali Dalmiya by phone if she was angry with the way the Trinamool Congress was working. “No, I’m not angry,” she told me. “I’ve only talked about people in my party who don’t let others work. And that has been the case for 3-4 years. There are people in the Trinamool Congress who have not lost love for party employees. Who does not love the people of the state , just love yourself. They are termites that are eating the party from within. Look at Lakshmi Ratan Shukla (former Bengal cricket captain who has just resigned as West Bengal youth minister for services) who has sadly left party post. And look at him being attacked by people from within the party. These are people who are not fighting with other parties, but with people within. They don’t even love Mamata Banerjee, “she said.
Is Dalmiya also thinking of leaving the Trinamool Congress? “I will continue to work for people. I have often been referred to as apolitical. So be it. I will continue to work with people, stand with them.”
Since a political person cannot become apolitical in the face of an important election, there is speculation that Dalmiya could jump ship and join the BJP. The bigger question is, where is her close friend, the former Bengali captain who later became the captain of India and is now president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)?
Jagmohan Dalmiya and Sourav Ganguly’s partnership previously helped India get to the top of world cricket. The friendship was also outside the field and Ganguly became a friend of Dalmiya’s family. Now that the late cricket administrator’s daughter speaks out against the Trinamool Congress, there is new speculation that friend Sourav Ganguly may also throw in his hat.
Since the BJP’s impressive result in West Bengal in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections (BJP won 18 of the state’s 42 Lok Sabha seats), not a day has passed without speculation that Sourav Ganguly will not only join the BJP, but also becomes his top ministerial face. The party’s national secretary general and Bengali overseer, Kailash Vijayvargiya, announced in August last year that the BJP would not project a prime minister or a bank onto Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s development plank to combat the Trinamool congress. But since then, a lot of muddy water has flowed under the second Hooghly Bridge. And speculation about who could become Prime Minister of Bengal if the BJP succeeds in wresting power from Mamata Banerjee never ceases.
The President of the BJP, Dilip Ghosh, spent more than 25 years with the parent organization RSS and was part of the growth of RSS and the BJP in Bengal. Given his penchant for statements made to the press that the Bhadralok Bengali find difficult to digest, there are reservations inside and outside the party that he is the prime ministerial candidate. Then there is Mukul Roy, the party’s national vice president and a key figure in the BJP’s Bengal campaign. But he came over from Trinamool Congress and there aren’t too many examples in the BJP of rewarding a turncoat with a top job. Until recently, the governor of Meghalaya and the name of the former Bengali head of the BJP, Tathagata Roy, have made the rounds as likely CM faces, as have the names of MP Rajya Sabha and former journalist Swapan Dasgupta.
But it all comes back to Dada (Sourav Ganguly) versus Didi (Mamata Banerjee). Is there pressure on Ganguly to join the BJP? I asked Vaishali Dalmiya. “Sourav is not someone who can take the pressure,” she told me. Is he joining the BJP? I tried my luck again. “Let him decide,” said Dalmiya.
However, the speculation will not stop.