Singer-turned-politician Babul Supriyo, who was removed from his minister of state berth in the recent rejig in the Narendra Modi cabinet, announced on Friday that he is quitting politics and going to resign from the Lok Sabha membership as well.
This comes as a blow to the BJP as the party will not only lose one of its faces in Bengal but also will be forced to face a bye-election because of his resignation from Lok Sabha at a time the party is not in a position to win the Asansol Lok Sabha seat going by the assembly election trends.
Supriyo, who had been hinted over the past few days that he may quit politics, formally announced his decision on social media on Saturday.
He also added that he was not going to join any other party, be it the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the Congress or the Left. He is going to quit politics altogether and focus on music again.
In a recent comment on one of his Facebook posts, Supriyo had said that in his posts that are not related to politics many were leaving positive remarks who would otherwise viciously attack him whenever he made political posts. This made him feel that his political identity was limiting his association with the people. In other words, he expected to be loved by more people if he remained what he was – a musician.
Supriyo made it clear that he was not making this declaration for any “bargain.” He would not inform Modi and home minister Amit Shah of his decision in person because, he said, the two had already dissuaded him several times from taking such a decision and that he did not want Modi and Shah to get an impression that he was bargaining for more power within the party. Since he had already taken the decision that he would not change, he announced it to the public.
Supriyo entered politics ahead of the 2014 elections, won from Asansol in 2014 marking the first instance of the party winning a Lok Sabha seat in the state on its own, and found a place in the Union government. Modi had made clear during his electoral campaign that he had plans for Babul when he told the voters of Asansol: “Mujhe Babul Chahiye (I need Babul).”
He won from Asansol in 2019 as well and again found a berth in the new ministry.
However, after he lost the 2021 assembly election contesting against TMC heavyweight Aroop Biswas from Tollygunge seat in Kolkata, and the BJP lost in 5 of the 7 assembly seats that make Asansol Lok Sabha, Supriyo had to let go of his berth in the ministry. Both the Ministers of State from Bengal were relieved and were replaced by four new faces.
Supriyo did not take this removal lightly, according to people close to him. “He was upset. In Bengal politics, he was already having trouble with other state unit leaders. But the ministerial position gave him a cushion against the state leaders in the internal battle. Now that the cushion was gone, he did not want to elongate the trouble,” said one of his close aides, who did not want to be named.