Arguably, an apology would have worked better. But Ghosh being Ghosh, he sternly declared that since the statue had been garlanded by Amit Shah, it would be known henceforth as that of Birsa Munda! Addressing a press conference, shown on TV, the BJP chief said, “We paid respect to a statue thinking it was Birsa Munda’s. Even if it isn’t, as the HM has garlanded that statue, it’s Birsa Munda’s statue from now on. Everyone must agree to this.”
While the ‘Bhadralok’ laugh at him in Bengal, as they did at Mamata Banerjee, BJP has been happy to keep the reins of the state unit in his hands. While within the BJP there are voices that feel Ghosh’s statements are often cringeworthy and crass and while political opponents keep refusing to dignify his outrageous statements with a response, the irrepressible man has never shied away from making statements that are lapped up by people and the media.
When film stars and artistes in Bengal protested against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), among them Soumitra Chatterjee who passed away last Sunday, Ghosh reacted by saying acidly, “They don’t want to show their papers, eh? Soon they will not be able to show their face”.Though the reaction was less rabid than another BJP hothead in the state, Soumitra Khan, who called anti-CAA protestors Mamata Banerjee’s ‘dogs’, the BJP chief’s words came out as sounding far more menacing.
He has never shied away from holding out threats; and one of his contributions acknowledged by the BJP is to build up a cadre which can retaliate and respond to political violence with violence. Others of course blame the BJP for initiating violence, for polarising the society and engineering riots.