The national party has never registered a win in any state elections in West Bengal. But, West Bengal holds tremendous significance for the BJP in the present times. With the present dispensation determined to retain its rule, and the Congress joining forces with the communists, does the weather look positive for the lotus to bloom?
We thought of checking with Keya Ghosh. After working as a journalist for over two decades, Keya Ghosh, with complete dedication has joined the BJP. A nationalist to the core, this daughter of defense is helming as the Vice President of the BJP Mahila Morcha in Bengal.
You started your career as a journalist; we remember watching you read the news. Why this sudden change in career and entering politics?
Keya Ghosh: Well, it was not sudden. I have been a through nationalist always. My father was with ministry of defence. The feeling of loving the country came to me naturally and was always there. So when after 2 decades of active journalism I got an opportunity of actually serving the people, I thought why not use that stage to serve the people.
My father wanted me to enter the army. It was some 25 year ago and I couldn’t. There were hardly any scopes for ladies. If I had a PM like Narendra Modiji at that time, I could have been in the army. But glad that I could serve the country, under the banner of a truly nationalist party, the founders being stalwarts like Atal Bihari Vajpaye and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee who laid down his life to unite the country. The BJP was clearly the only and obvious choice. So, here I am.
In West Bengal, it is said the people from arts and media head for the Communist party. What made you sign up for the BJP?
Keya Ghosh: No. I think it’s completely a myth. For people from art and media joining the communist party was perhaps due to the 34 years of communist rule. People who joined the CPI(M) did so mainly for two reasons, I believe. Many of these so called intellectuals in Bengal got a lot of favors and minted money out of extending support from the communist. Again, they could have been suffering from the instilled fear that they won’t get any work if they didn’t align with the communist.
The BJP doesn’t pay us anything for being a part of their party. I use my own vehicle and fill my own fuel with my money. And there are more from the fraternity who have joined the BJP, like the well-known Vishwas family. They are participating in all dharnas and rallies. Kudos to them.
The BJP has never won a state election in West Bengal. What are the odds in 2021?
Keya Ghosh: This is a very easy question and the answer is even easier. There are no odds. There is only even. We are going to get an absolute majority in Bengal in 2021. People of Bengal have been the Congress, people have seen the uprising of the Naxalites which was an absolute nightmare, and then 34 years of the communist rule, and then the people of Bengal have been seeing the last 9 and a half years of the present dispensation. And now they definitely want to see the change and want the lotus to bloom in the state.
The Congress is coming together with the CPIM which has enjoyed a 34 year long reign in the state. Does it look like a threat for the Lotus to bloom?
Keya Ghosh: On the contrary, it would make our win easier. They have lost their ideologies, they have lost the faith people reposed upon them. Maybe even the TMC will align with them. People have seen how these parties were at loggerheads with each other. They killed each other’s party workers by scores. They have done it earlier and it was a disaster. Let every party align together and BJP fights alone against them. It will not make an iota of impact.
You are a popular face in the party. Will you be contesting these elections?
Keya Ghosh: Thank you for your lovely compliment. I don’t know whether I am popular or not. But I am a dedicated worker of the party and I shall do as the party decides. If they ask me to do wall writings throughout the election season I will do that. If they ask me to fight the election, I will do that. If they want me to sit at the booth on Election Day, I will do that. Whatever the party orders me to do, I will do that.
Leaders from ideologically opposite parties being inducted in the BJP has become a regular scene in the state. Don’t you think this will shake the trust of the BJP supporters?
Keya Ghosh: Firstly, leaders coming from other parties are nothing new in India or Bengal. Communist parties have never been nationalist n nature. If any leader from the communist party approaches the BJP, it will be like they have finally seen the emergence of nationalist sentiments in their hearts.
The party does check that these people have changed their views, they are thorough nationalists now and they get the ticket to fight. And they win and they serve. Even Valmiki was the dacoit Ratnakar at one point in time, remember?
What are the changes you promise to bring if you party is given a chance by the people of Bengal?
Keya Ghosh: The first thing we do is do away with this corruption, the syndicate, and cut money. We want to bring industries to the state. Bengal hasn’t seen industries developing here for the last 3 decades. And the most important thing, we would like to ensure the safety of women. All the women who have been wronged and their cases been covered up due to political influences, we give our word that all such cases will be reopened and justice will be given to all the victims.
How do you counter the “outsider” jibe often hurled at the party and its members?
Keya Ghosh: I find these absolute hilarious. Such cheap comments are absolutely not welcome. Whom are they calling outsiders? An Indian coming to an Indian state? This is an Anga Rajya. That should be remembered this is not Bangladesh. This is west Bengal. Out leaders from the same country from other states are considered outsiders.
But Rohingyas are not outsiders. Bangladeshis are not outsiders. There is all the love of Bangladeshis and illegal immigrants, Rohingyas. They are trying to reinstate them. But leaders from other parts of India are outsiders. Then who is Prashant Kishore babu? He is from Bihar and he came in during lockdown also. He is not an outsider?
Politics is going to keep you super busy for the coming months. How do you manage family and this demanding responsibility?
Keya Ghosh: I have a super supportive family. My husband, my daughter, my father are all very supporters. My husband is a bigger nationalist than me. Indian women are like dasabhuja. We can manage our families and or professions – in my case politics – very astutely. So it’s not difficult. All of us can do it.
What does Keya love to do when she is at home with her dear ones, and not thinking about politics?
Keya Ghosh: There is not a single moment when I don’t think about politics. For me, it is thinking for the people of Bengal. My husband tells me this is not a reality show, this is hard-core reality. I get calls from karyakartas at odd hours. They tell me that they are being attacked. I don’t know if I get to speak to them again. But I can’t turn away from them because I am at home. But that apart, when at home, I love to read books and whisk up a dish or two.