The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s West Bengal unit president Dilip Ghosh, who had earlier triggered a controversy saying ‘corona is gone’ while justifying organising political rallies, tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday. He has been admitted to a private hospital in Salt Lake area of the city.
Ghosh, a Lok Sabha member from Midnapore, has been addressing public gatherings and leading rallies comprising thousands of supporters over the past couple of months.
The 56-year-old had been unwell since October 11, kept himself to his residence, and did not take part in any political activity. Due to the illness, he did not even participate in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s virtual meeting with the party leaders.
“His test report came positive on Friday night,” said a BJP state unit member who did not want to be identified. “Ghosh had high fever at the time of hospitalisation,” the leader said.
A few days ago, the party’s newly appointed national secretary Anupam Hazra also tested positive for the disease. Previously, Lok Sabha MP-cum-state unit general secretary Locket Chatterjee and women’s wing chief Agnimitra Paul had tested positive for Covid-19.
Most of the BJP’s state unit leaders have been leading rallies of hundreds and thousands of supporters since the relaxation of the lockdown. Last week, the party’s youth wing gathered several thousand supporters from different parts of the state for a march to the State Secretariat.
On September 9, while addressing a public rally at Dhaniakhali in Hooghly district, Ghosh triggered a controversy when he said, “Corona Choley Gechhe (Corona is gone) and yet Didi is imposing lockdowns. This is pure drama to stop us from taking out rallies. But we will take out rallies no matter what she does.”
“Crowds at our public meetings have unnerved the TMC. They are scared,” Ghosh had said while boasting of the party’s ability to draw thousands of people to the party’s programmes. The crowds hinted at the winds of change, he had argued.
Between October 10 and October 14, West Bengal recorded more than 3,500 cases of Covid-19 positive every day on an average, while about 60 persons are dying every day on an average. Two TMC MLAs who had tested positive for Covid-19 have died.
The BJP’s Bengal unit leaders have repeatedly argued that it would not be possible for them to avoid holding public meetings or holds those maintaining social distancing norms. “We are fighting a virus deadlier than Covid-19 and it is Mamata Banerjee,” the party’s state unit general secretary Sayantan Basu had earlier said.