'The BJP is directionless in West Bengal.'
Last week, Krishna Kalyani, the Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Raiganj, West Bengal, resigned from the BJP and said it was impossible for him to work for common people while in the party.
Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress Party was quick to extend an invitation to Kalyani to join the TMC, but he has not decided his next move yet.
The BJP is in complete disarray in West Bengal. Already, half a dozen MLAs have quit the party and joined the TMC.
"How long can I bear humiliation in the BJP?" Krishna Kalyani, below, asks Rediff.com's Syed Firdaus Ashraf.
Are you also heading towards the Trinamool Congress like other disgruntled BJP leaders?
No, I have not decided on that.
Why did you quit the BJP then?
There were some differences between me and the leadership.
I had given time till September 30 to the party to decide the questions that I had raised.
Instead, I was given a show cause notice by the party.
This happened after I gave so much time and commitment to the BJP in West Bengal.
After becoming the BJP MLA, I got 6,000 TMC leaders into the BJP.
I have my own standing in my constituency.
What differences did you have with the party?
One BJP MP from my area (former Union minister Debasree Chowdhury is the BJP MP from Raiganj) was conspiring against me.
I was purposely kept out of the decision-making body of the party.
Moreover, those BJP leaders who were conspiring against me during the elections to ensure my defeat were made district block leaders in my assembly constituency.
I raised all these objections for which I was boycotted by the party.
Therefore, I quit the BJP.
Why are so many BJP leaders quitting the party after the elections?
Here, our culture is different.
Therefore, the party MLAs are quitting.
Check out the assembly elections results and you will find that sitting BJP MPs have lost their seats when they contested the MLA's seat.
Voters of Bengal are unhappy with the BJP's members of Parliament.
Amit Shahji gave the slogan that this time the BJP will win over 200 seats in Bengal, but that did not happen and we could win only 77 seats.
This result was because of the bad performance of BJP MPs.
If you see the analysis of the BJP's loss in West Bengal, you will find the maximum number of seats the BJP lost was in those places where we had BJP MPs who won in the 2019 general elections.
The only exception being North Bengal.
Take the example of Uttar Dinajpur from where I win elections.
We have a BJP MP from here.
Out of the nine MLA seats in this Parliamentary constituency we won only two.
The Kaliyaganj MLA, who was in this constituency, has already gone over to the TMC and I too have quit the party.
Who sent you this show cause notice?
You will be surprised that this show cause notice was sent to me by an unknown phone number.
They did not have the courtesy to send me an official letter or official message.
I forwarded the same message to Pratap Banerjee (BJP state vice president).
I wanted to know the truth.
He saw the message, but did not reply.
Has the defeat in West Bengal led to low morale among BJP workers?
I will talk about my own political career.
By profession, I am an industrialist and a social activist.
I came to politics to gain social respect and help people.
I did not come to achieve anything on the personal front.
However, how long can I bear humiliation in the BJP?
What mistakes did the BJP commit in its election strategy?
The biggest mistake the BJP did in West Bengal was they did not announce their candidate names much in advance.
The TMC announced their candidate names 16 days ahead of us.
They took a huge leap in the first step of the battle.
In any assembly election, we get 45 days to win the battle and the TMC used those 45 days to full potential.
On the other hand, the BJP MLAs list was announced 29 days before the elections.
This gave the TMC a huge lead.
They could campaign for more time than us.
Another problem came after Amit Shah said that the BJP will over 200 seats in West Bengal.
The BJP cadre got into a relaxed mood after hearing this statement.
They thought our victory is sure and they will form the government.
Instead of fighting elections, the BJP leaders were busy deciding who will be the next chief minister and who will be the new ministers.
Worse, after deciding on imaginary portfolios, BJP leaders started fighting among each other and tried to defeat each other because they thought if the BJP comes to power, the others will get plum ministerial postings.
In the end, the TMC did not defeat the BJP, but the BJP only defeated the BJP in West Bengal.
What about ticket distribution in the BJP?
This was also a problem.
The TMC did not give tickets to many of its leaders.
These people came to the BJP and contested the elections.
The BJP forgot that the person is the same and he was not given a ticket by the TMC because he was unpopular among the public.
The BJP thought he would win elections on their party symbol, but that too did not happen.
By getting so many outsiders in the party overnight, there was resentment among BJP workers too.
Any other reason behind the BJP's defeat?
The Left Front, the Congress and Abbas Siddiqui's party had an alliance.
The BJP never attacked this alliance in the elections.
They only attacked Mamata Banerjee, which was a wrong strategy.
Had the BJP attacked the Left Front and Congress alliance, the minority votes would have got divided and confused.
This did not happen and the minorities voted en bloc for the TMC.
Do you feel sidelining Dilip Ghosh from the party's Bengal leadership during the elections was a big setback for the BJP? He did well by getting 18 MPs elected in 2019, but did not get a free hand in the assembly elections.
He was not given a good exit.
He was suddenly let out (from decision making).
New faces in the BJP erupted overnight and they were given a chance over him, which was bad.
The BJP should have given charge to some old-timers if not him, like Swapan Dasgupta or someone of his stature.
Were TMC turncoats a problem for the BJP during elections?
Mamata Banerjee's scheme, Dware Sarkar (government at your door service), was a big hit.
Another problem came with the rise of (LPG) gas price.
Women voters did not like the gas price rise.
Mamata Banerjee realised this anger in women voters.
She announced that if she wins, she will give Rs 500 per month for every woman voter in West Bengal.
If there were four women in a family, the family was getting Rs 2,000 per month.
For scheduled castes, it was much better as she announced Rs 1,000 per month for each scheduled caste woman.
We did not find an alternative to counter this.
What is happening in the West Bengal BJP currently?
The BJP is directionless in West Bengal.
We, the elected MLAs, were told after the TMC's victory that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah will meet us.
This was told to us by BJP President J P Nadda that in batches of 15-20 the BJP MLAs will get a chance to meet Modi and Amit Shah.
We have crossed five months now and there is no sign of that meeting.
Had they met us, our morale would have got boosted, but they never met us.