The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday appointed Balurghat MP Sukanta Majumdar the president of its West Bengal unit, replacing Dilip Ghosh.

Ghosh and former Uttarakhand Governor Baby Rani Maurya have been made the national vice-presidents of the party.

The changes in the West Bengal BJP have come shortly after several of its leaders left the party to join the Trinamool Congress, which won the Assembly elections in the state in May.

Those who shifted from the BJP to the TMC recently include MP Babul Supriyo and four MLAs – Mukul Roy, Tanmoy Ghosh, Biswajit Das and Soumen Roy.

The new appointments also come ahead of the bye-poll in Bhabanipur, where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will contest against BJP’s Priyanka Tibrewal.

The bye-poll will be held on September 30. Banerjee, who is the chief of the Trinamool Congress, needs to get elected as an MLA in order to continue as chief minister. Banerjee had lost to BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram.

On Monday evening, Ghosh congratulated Majumdar on his appointment and wished him success.

Ghosh also said that his appointment as the national vice-president “is a recognition of my work and contribution,” according to NDTV. “I had also said BJP leadership in Bengal needs parivartan [change] to meet the new demands of society and the party,” he said.

Majumdar said that Ghosh has steered the BJP to its current position as a “strong opposition party” in Bengal, NDTV reported. “He has made a significant contribution to its growth,” Majumdar added. “I hope to take the party forward from that point.”

Majumdar also said that the BJP has “given such a huge responsibility to a small worker” like him, and thanked party chief JP Nadda and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the appointment.

“BJP had fought earlier to save West Bengal and stop its Talibanisation, we’ll do so in future too,” ANI quoted him as saying. “We will protect it from Talibani rule of Mamata Banerjee.”

In the West Bengal elections held in March and April, the TMC had won 213 of the 294 seats. The BJP had managed to secure 77 constituencies.

Before the elections, a spate of TMC leaders had defected to the BJP. Banerjee’s former close aide Adhikari, who is currently the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, had also switched sides.