Dilip Ghosh, the Bengal BJP chief who shocked his party with his comments about Mamata Banerjee becoming the Prime Minister, today backtracked, saying, “there was no such possibility”. He also indicated that his remark should be “taken in good humour”.
Ms Banerjee is holding a huge rally in the state on January 19, which is seen as a launchpad prepared by her party to project her as the united opposition’s candidate for the top job in this year’s Lok Sabha election. A number of opposition leaders, including Sharad Pawar, Arvind Kejriwal and Tejashwi Yadav, are expected to attend the rally.
Yesterday also happened to be Ms Banerjee’s birthday and Mr Ghosh indicated that he was caught up in the moment.
“I was asked a question to which I replied that my wishes will be with her (Mamata Banerjee) if she becomes PM. That is only what I said. But there is no possibility at all of it happening. These things are to be taken in good humour,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
While extending birthday wishes to her, Mr Ghosh had said, “I pray for her good health and success in life, “because the fate of our state depends on her success”.
Then asked if anyone from BJP’s Bengal unit had the chance to be the Prime Minister, Mr Ghosh said Mamata Banerjee was ahead in the race.
“We can surely have one from Bengal after her. But she has the first chance. We couldn’t have Jyoti Basu as the first Bengali prime minister as his party did not allow him to be,” he said.
“We want her to be fit so that she can work well. She needs to remain fit because if there is any Bengali who has the chance to be the PM from this Bengal, then she is the one”.
The statement had shocked the state BJP, engaged in a bitter tussle with Ms Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress. Bengal is one of the states that’s on Amit Shah’s to-do list and the BJP chief has tasked the state unit with winning 20 of the state’s 42 seats.