Updated: August 1, 2021 2:19:22 pm
Weeks after he resigned from the Union cabinet ahead of the reshuffle, BJP leader Babul Supriyo Saturday announced he was quitting politics. Supriyo said he had been having differences in opinion with certain BJP leaders ahead of the West Bengal Assembly polls. The ‘infighting’ between senior leaders, he added, was causing harm to the party. In his initial Facebook post, he clarified that he had no plans on joining a rival political party, only to edit out that part later.
Earlier this month, Supriyo resigned as Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change in the Union Council of Ministers just hours before the cabinet reshuffle in Narendra Modi’s second term as prime minister.
Here’s a look at Supriyo’s seven-year political journey
Babul Supriyo, who is also a singer and actor, joined BJP ahead of the 2014 general elections and was nominated by the party as their Asansol (West Bengal) candidate. He won the seat defeating Dola Sen of Trinamool Congress and went on to become the youngest of 21 ministers who were inducted in the first cabinet expansion in Modi’s first term as prime minister. Serving as Union Minister of State for Urban Development; Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation till 12 July 2016, he was later appointed Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Supriyo retained his Asansol seat by defeating TMC’s Moon Moon Sen.
In the West Bengal Assembly elections 2021, BJP pitched Supriyo as its candidate from the Tollygunj constituency, where he lost to TMC’s Aroop Biswas by more than 50,000 votes.
Ahead of the Bengal Assembly elections earlier this year, Supriyo courted controversy by allegedly slapping a man inside a party office in Kolkata. The video of the incident, that went viral, showed the singer-turned BJP leader purportedly slapping a man who had repeatedly asked him to start serious field campaigning rather than posing in front of TV cameras and giving bytes. Supriyo later claimed that he did not “slap him but only gestured to do so”.
Supriyo also faced a massive protest from a section of Jadavpur University students in 2019 after he went to the institute to attend an event organised by RSS student wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). Supriyo was heckled, thrashed and pushed by the protesting students who showed him black flags and shouted ‘go back’ slogans.
The Union minister, however, refused to leave the campus and entered into a verbal altercation with the students, who were from Students Federation of India (SFI) and the All India Students’ Association (AISA). The students said BJP was not welcome in the campus while Supriyo said as a Union minister he had the right to anywhere.
“I was severely thrashed, my hair was pulled and I was punched and kicked. This is totally unexpected from students of Jadavpur University. If they have any problem with me coming here then they should have debated the matter. They should not have assaulted me. They cannot stop me from going anywhere. I did not expect this. This is the state of the education system in West Bengal,” Supriyo told reporters.
In 2018, then Union minister sparked a row after he threatened to “break a man’s leg” during an event in West Bengal’s Asansol. The incident which was captured on camera, ironically, took place when the minister was addressing an event for the differently-abled persons. In a video released by news agency ANI, the minister is heard saying, “I can break one of your legs.” The BJP leader who was invited at the Samajik Adhikarita Shivir to distribute aids and assistive devices to the differently-abled people, reportedly lost his cool after someone from the crowd disturbed him during his address.
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