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Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh heads to US, set to highlight 'plight' of Hindus

Sulagna Sengupta | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:46 IST

The BJP is desperately trying to gain a foothold in West Bengal. And in order to garner support from expatriate Hindus from the state, Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh is set to embark on a 12-day trip to the US.

Starting 8 September, Ghosh will travel to New York, New Jersey, Boston, Washington DC and Chicago, to speak at programmes organised by US-based Hindu groups, including Overseas Friends of BJP, Vishwa Hindu Parishad America and the Indian-American Intellectual Forum.

This is the first time that a leader from Bengal has been invited to speak to Hindu congregations in the US.

The itinerary

Ghosh is regarded as a hardliner, and was a former pracharak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

His first port of call in the US will be New York, where he is set to highlight the plight of Hindus in Bengal. He will inform the audience about how Hindus are on the back foot due to 'constant infiltration' from Bangladesh, and the political backing of the minorities by a 'section' of the political class.

"I will highlight the helpless plight of Hindus in West Bengal. On one hand, we have the rise of Muslim fundamentalism, along with terror organisations like the Jamaat (Jamaat-ul-Mujahiddin Bangladesh, or JMB), and on the other, certain political sections are backing fundamentalists in Bengal. The situation in Bangladesh has had its impact in West Bengal. The infiltration issue will also be highlighted," Ghosh told Catch.

He will also be speaking at two of the largest congregations of affluent Hindus settled in the US in New Jersey, and also at a programme in New York in the presence of stalwarts of the Hindu community in America. He is also set to visit a number of Hindu temples run by Indians and Bangladeshis. On 10 September, he will speak at TV Asia USA auditorium in New Jersey. On 11 September, he will speak at Hillside Banquet, Rajdhani Restaurant, in New York, where leaders of the Hindu community will be present.

According to the state BJP, the invitation indicates that overseas Hindu organisations are concerned with the recent incidents in West Bengal and neighbouring Bangladesh. One of the concerns was the blast at Khagragarh (Burdwan), which blew the lid off a flourishing JMB network in the state. The subsequent terror attacks in Bangladesh, and the infiltration of ISIS elements in the country, the arrests of ISIS suspects in Bengal and continuous 'infiltration' across the border have generated interest among the influential Hindu community abroad.

The reason

Political analysts feel that Ghosh will use the platform to garner support from affluent Hindus settled in the USA, a lot of whom hail from West Bengal. This would help it gain a stronger foothold in the state.

Prof Amol Sarkar, a political analyst, says: "It indicates that the West Bengal BJP is facing a tough time, especially when the Trinamool Congress is already poaching leaders from various Opposition parties to strengthen its base in Bengal."

Edited by Shreyas Sharma

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First published: 3 September 2016, 9:25 IST