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On the Campaign Trail With BJP’s Swapan Dasgupta

The ex-Rajya Sabha MP from Tarakeshwar discusses leaving his seat, Bengal polls and more.

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Video Editor: Deepthi Ramdas

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded not just celebrities, but also their heavyweights to take on the incumbent Trinamool Congress in the 2021 Bengal Assembly elections. One such heavyweight is ex-Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta who is contesting from Hooghly’s Tarakeshwar.

The Quint set out on a campaign trail with him to find out why he left his Rajya Sabha seat, what he thinks about Bengal’s condition and more.

When asked about why he gave up his Rajya Sabha seat to contest in the Assembly elections, he promptly replied that it was the need of the hour.

This time, the Bengal polls are something extraordinary. We are fighting a battle to reverse about 50 years of a political direction and therefore everybody has put in their best. We believe this time, it’s a moment of reckoning for Bengal. It’s not just me, but a lot of others. I had to give up my seat, but the others are also taking a plunge.
Swapan Dasgupta, BJP’s Tarakeshwar Candidate

Recently, there have been several instances of discord within the party ranks that came to the fore after the BJP released its candidate's list. Protests had broken out in several parts of the state with party workers ransacking party offices.

Dasgupta says that their reaction was “understandable”, and that this had more to do with “integration” than anything else.

People who have been there for a long time feel proprietorial about the whole party. It’s a very understandable reaction. The new people sometimes begin a different culture, which has to be curtailed to suit the needs of the party.
Swapan Dasgupta, BJP’s Tarakeshwar Candidate

However, the silver lining, he said, was that there had been a “huge burst of youthful enthusiasm”.

Dasgupta’s campaign strategy mostly focuses on development issues and tackling corruption. He said that these were the two main issues affecting the people of Tarakeshwar.

One of the big things here in the rural parts are the mud houses. They may look very pretty from the outside, but the living conditions are very grim. People suffer a lot, especially during a storm or in the monsoon. The PM Aawas Yojana seeks to convert these into pucca houses. It’s a very important project along with the Jal Mission. Drinking water has been an issue, which is ironic considering that this place sees high rainfall. The water table has gone down, the village ponds are drying up.
Swapan Dasgupta, BJP’s Tarakeshwar Candidate

He further said that he found it “morally repugnant” that the ruling party had been “pocketing money from the poorest of the poor”.

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