Dilip Ghosh, the chief of West Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), took some of his own party members by surprise when he said that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has the best chance to become the first Bengali Prime Minister of the country.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Ghosh said “Mamata Banerjee’s name is first in this list to become PM. it will be good that if a Bengali became PM. Jyoti Basu could not but Mamata Banerjee can.”
He was responding to a question on whether any Bengali from his party has the chance to become Prime Minister.
Jyoti Basu, the CPI(M) stalwart who reigned over West Bengal with an iron hand for 20 years of the 34-year Communist rule, had come closest to becoming PM in 1996 but his party decided not to be part of a coalition government.
The state party chief also wished Trinamool Congress chief Mamata on her birthday, which falls on 5 January, and prayed for her health.
“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,” he said, adding that the “fate of our state depends on her success”.
“We had Pranab Mukherjee from the state as the first Bengali to become President so now it’s time to have a Bengali as PM,” Ghosh said.
The statement has come as a shocker for the BJP, engaged in a bitter fight against the Trinamool Congress in the state.