Close on the heels of the ruling BJP’s decision to nominate West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar as the party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA)’s candidate for the upcoming Vice Presidential election, the Bengal BJP leaders hailed the party leadership’s move and took to social media to greet Dhankhar.
The saffron party is the principal Opposition in Bengal, where the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC) has been in power since 2011. Since July 2019, when he was appointed by the BJP-ruled Centre as the Bengal Governor, Dhankhar has been at loggerheads with the Mamata Banerjee government on a range of issues.
The TMC took a cautious stance over Dhankhar’s nomination as the NDA’s V-P nominee. TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said, “TMC is not giving any reaction on the issue right now. Our party chairperson Mamata Banerjee will convene a meeting of all party MPs. She will give reaction after that meeting.”
TMC MP Shantanu Sen said, “We are now busy with our martyrs’ day anniversary rally to be held on July 21. After that rally, our party chairperson Mamata Banerjee has called a meeting where party will take a decision on the Vice-Presidential election.”
Soon after the BJP’s national president JP Nadda announced Dhankhar’s candidature, describing him as a “kisan putra” (son of farmer) who established himself as “people’s governor”, senior Bengal party leader Dilip Ghosh wrote on Facebook: “Congratulations and best wishes to the Governor of West Bengal, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar, who is the nominated Vice-Presidential candidate of the BJP and partner parties. His knowledge, mind, brave attitude and protest against the tyranny of the ruling party in the state is undeniable. People’s Governor – Sriman Jagdeep Dhankar.”
State BJP chief Sukanta Majumder tweeted, “Congratulations to Hon’ble Governor Shri @jdhankhar1 ji on being declared as candidate of Vice President of India. His vast experience & deep knowledge will help him serve the nation better and make it an excellent choice for the post. I wish him best.”
Congratulations to Hon’ble Governor Shri @jdhankhar1 ji on being declared as candidate of Vice President of India. His vast experience & deep knowledge will help him serve the nation better and make it an excellent choice for the post. I wish him best. pic.twitter.com/2obqnImg0p
— Dr. Sukanta Majumdar (@DrSukantaBJP) July 16, 2022
Bengal BJP general secretary Jagannath Chattopadhyay stated: “In last three years Jagdeep Dhankhar exposed misrule in Bengal. Right from broken law & order to poor governance, Dhankhar reflected his views on issues through the prism of constitutional good practices. At present he is the tallest Jat Leader of the country. My sincere thanks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Nadda. Definitely, we the members of Opposition political parties will miss him in Bengal, but country will be benefited.”
In his reaction, Bengal Congress president Adhir Chowdhury said, “We do not know whether Dhankhar is the son of a farmer or not but he is a renowned advocate and highly-educated. But, it is a political fight and our party will take the decision accordingly.”
The CPI(M) Central Committee’s member Sujan Chakraborty said, “We can understand why Dhankhar did that meeting with Mamata Banerjee and Himanta Biswa Sarma (in Darjeeling). It is now clear like daylight. Now question is the way Dhankhar helped BJP here in West Bengal, he should be given more respect. I think he was humiliated.”
Last Wednesday, Chief Minister Banerjee met Governor Dhankhar and her Assam counterpart Sarma at the Darjeeling Raj Bhawan. After their meeting, which lasted for about an hour, Banerjee claimed it was a “purely courtesy visit” and that “We did not have any discussion on political issues”. The Congress and the Left, however, raised questions about their meeting.