Former Union Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Babul Supriyo on Saturday took to Facebook to announce that he has decided to quit politics and resign as an MP as well. He hinted the decision was partly due to him losing the ministerial berth and also differences with the state BJP leadership.
"Leaving, Goodbye. I spoke to my parents, wife, friends, and after listening to the advice, I am saying that I am leaving. I am not going to any other party - TMC, Congress, CPIM, nowhere. I am confirming that nobody has called me.
"I am going nowhere. I am a one-team player! I have always supported one team, #MohunBagan - Have been with only one party - BJP West Bengal. That's it!! Leaving," Supriyo said in a Facebook post.
"I have stayed for too long I have helped somebody, have disappointed someone...it is for the people to decide. If you want to do social work, you can do it without being in politics. Yes, I am resigning from the post of MP," his post read.
The singer-turned politician also said he will vacate his government accommodation within a month.
Supriyo, who had held several portfolios as a minister of state in the Narendra Modi government since 2014, was removed from the position earlier this month following a major cabinet reshuffle. He unsuccessfully contested assembly polls against Trinamool Congress Aroop Biswas in the last assembly elections.
The two-time MP from Asansol was among the several ministers who were dropped from the Union Cabinet on 7 July as part of a major rejig in the Union cabinet. He unsuccessfully contested the Assembly polls against Trinamool Congress' Aroop Biswas in the recently concluded 2021 Assembly election in West Bengal.
Besides Supriyo, Bengali leader Debasree Chaudhuri was also dropped as minister during the Cabinet rejig. Four other MPs from West Bengal " Nishit Pramanik, Santanu Thakur, Subhas Sarkar and John Barla " were inducted as minister of state in the current Modi cabinet.
"But, I have to answer a question because it's pertinent! The question is, why I left politics? Does it have anything to do with leaving the ministry? Yes, there is - there must be something! I don't want to pretend. So it would be right on my part to answer the questions, and it will give me peace too," he wrote.
Without naming anyone, Supriyo said differences with the state leadership was not helping the matters either and was sending a wrong message to the rank and file of the party.
"Ahead of the elections, there were disagreements with the state leadership on some issues - but some matters were coming out in public. Somewhere I am responsible for that (I posted a Facebook post which tantamounts to breaking party discipline), and somewhere else, other leaders are also very much responsible, although I don't want to go into the details about who is responsible for this," he said.
"But the party was losing ground due to those disagreements and quarrels among the senior leaders; we don't need knowledge of 'rocket science' to understand that it was not helping the morale of the party workers in any way. At the moment it is completely unwelcome, so I am leaving with immense gratitude and love to the people of Asansol," he said.
The former union minister made a big difference in Bengal BJP between 2014, when he joined the party and 2019 and when the party won 18 Lok Sabha seats.
"I was the only BJP leader who had won on a party ticket on its own back then (in 2014 Ahluwalia- where the party had won as a GJM ally from the Darjeeling seat), but today BJP is the main opposition party in Bengal. There are many new bright young leaders in the party today as well as many experienced leaders.
"The team led by them will go a long way from here. I have no hesitation in saying that it is clear that it is not a big deal to have an individual in the party today and to accept that fact would be the right decision," he said.
Supriyo thanked the BJP top brass- Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president J P Nadda for "their love and affection" towards him and clarified that his move wasn't aimed at "bargaining".
"For last few days, whenever I had told them about my decision, they had tried to convince me not to leave. So If I keep on going to them with the same plea, they might think I'm 'bargaining' for a 'position', which is not at all the case. I pray they don't misunderstand me and should forgive me," he wrote.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh declined to comment on it, reported news agency PTI.
"There are people who come and go. I am not aware that he has resigned from the party or as an MP. I don't follow Facebook or Twitter posts, so I can't comment on it," he said.
However, the TMC leadership mocked the BJP unit for failing to take everybody along and termed Supriyo's social media post as a "drama".
"Babul Supriyo is doing drama as he has been dropped from the ministry. If he was so keen on resigning, then he should have sent his resignation to the Lok Sabha speaker. Instead, he is indulging in those tricks. But, this incident has also brought into fore the internal squabbling in the BJP," TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh said.
'Won't have to deal with uncouth comments': Supriyo on detractors
The singer-turned-politician took to social media late on Saturday to say he took the comments in his stride and now he had "ample time" to sing.
"Read ur comments. You all are seeing things from your perspective. Some people have used language according to their culture; I take it all in my stride. I can answer your questions through work for which I don't have to be an MP. Give me some time and I will start singing songs; now I have ample time in hand. At least, I will not have to deal with such uncouth comments and positive energy will be saved."
Supriyo's reaction came after Kunal Ghosh termed his resignation a "drama". Comparing his antics to Sholay's Dharmendra, Ghosh said Supriyo was using Facebook to attract his Delhi leaders' attention "because he's now a dissident leader", according to News18.
After being dropped from the ministry, Supriyo and Dilip Ghosh engaged in a war of words with the central leadership which took steps to calm the warring leaders.
Supriyo had said in a post from his official Facebook account that he was "asked to resign" from his post as the Union minister of state. To which, Ghosh hit back saying: "They asked for his (Supriyo's) resignation so that someone else can take up the responsibility. That is how a party functions; you need to have faith in the due process. If he were to be fired instead, would that have made things any better?"
Ghosh said that of the 12 ministers who resigned, no one else had made such a remark about the party.
Supriyo debuted in politics as a BJP candidate from Asansol in the 2014 general election. He went on to win the seat twice in 2014 as well as in 2019.
He was inducted into Modi's cabinet in 2014 as MOS.
With inputs from PTI