Coochbehar (WB), December 16
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday called the deserters of ruling TMC “opportunists and cowards” and accused BJP of trying to coerce Trinamool Congress leaders to join the saffron party.
She also blamed BJP for trying to break TMC by using “moneybags”.
Banerjee, who is also the TMC supremo, urged the people to give their mandate against the “outsider” BJP, which she said has come here to loot the Bengalis and leave after the elections are over.
“Imagine the audacity of the BJP leaders —they are calling up my (TMC) state president Subrata Bakshi and asking him to join the party. The BJP doesn’t have any political courtesy or ideology. And, there are one or two opportunists who only work for their own benefits,” she told a rally here.
“The old-timers of the party are our real assets. We have an ideology, those who are deserting the party don’t have any ideological conviction. The BJP is trying to coerce TMC leaders to join. It is using moneybags to break opposition parties… But, we will fight and defeat them in the assembly polls,” she asserted.
Her comments come in the backdrop of growing resentment in the TMC with several senior leaders, ministers and MLAs openly speaking out against the party leadership and the state government.
Senior TMC leader Suvendu Adhikari had recently quit the state cabinet and has resigned as MLA on Wednesday evening fuelling speculations of his possible switchover to the saffron camp later this month.
Continuing her tirade, she said “Some are acting as fence sitters; they are apprehensive that they may not get tickets as they have been non-performers as MLAs. The BJP is calling up party leaders and telling them do you want to stay in jail or in active politics.”
“They (MLAs) can go if they want. Those who have deserted TMC are opportunists and cowards. I don’t want cowards who are afraid to stand up against the BJP.
“I along with my party workers will fight against the BJP, which is a party of dacoits and thieves. I will defeat the BJP,” Banerjee, a strident critic of the saffron party, said.
Slamming the BJP as a party of “outsiders”, the feisty TMC boss said she will never allow the saffron camp to take control of Bengal and urged the people to resist any such attempt.
“If some goons from outside come to our state and terrorise you all of you should united in their resistance of them. We believe in peace,” she said.
“But few people come to the state only during elections to terrorise people. We won’t allow them to have a free run here. We will never allow outsiders to take control and rule the state,” Banerjee said.
Her comments came in the backdrop of the issue of Bengali sub-nationalism, which is emerging as a rallying cry in West Bengal ahead of the assembly elections due next year.
She urged the voters of north Bengal, which has 54 assembly seats spread across seven districts, to give a mandate against the “outsider” BJP and said it is trying to destroy the state with its “divisive politics”.
“The RSS and BJP are trying to take control over Bengal for their vested interest. They are not real Hindus. They are not Ramakrishna or Vivekananda, they only spread hatred,” the feisty TMC supremo said.
BJP has made deep inroads in north Bengal and bagged seven out of the eight Lok Sabha seats in the last parliamentary elections.
Hitting out at BJP’s campaign to distribute cards to 75 lakh youths in the state for providing job opportunities in the next five years, Banerjee said “It is a bluff by the BJP to fool the masses”.
“They are the biggest dacoits of Chambal and they have come here to loot the Bengalis. They will loot you and leave after the elections are over. I will stand by you throughout the year,” she said.
Reacting to Banerjee’s allegation of BJP trying to poach TMC MLAs and elected representatives, West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said:“The allegations are baseless. The truth is TMC leaders and members of Prashant Kishor’s team are calling up BJP leaders in various parts of the state”.
Kishor is the poll strategist for TMC for the 2021 West Bengal assembly poll.
Election to the 294-member state assembly is due in April-May next year. PTI