Trinamool Congress MP Kalyan Banerjee today hit out at Home Minister Amit Shah, who addressed a rally in West Bengal and greeted rebels from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s party ahead of election to the legislative assembly, just months away.
Ten Trinamool Congress leaders, including Ms Banerjee’s longtime colleague Suvendu Adhikari, joined the BJP in Mr Shah’s presence. Ms Banerjee last week without naming the rebels had criticised them as leaving the party after “profiting from it for 10 years”.
“Amit Shah speaks of family-centric politics of others. Let me remind you, isn’t Adhikari from an influential political family? You son too is a top official of BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) on whose influence?” Kalyan Banerjee said.
Mr Adhikari’s sister Sisir Adhikari and younger brother Dibyendu Adhikari are TMC MPs from Tamluk and Kanthi Lok Sabha constituencies, respectively.
“Suvendu Adhikari has joined the biggest extortionist party. His personal wealth has increased manifold. He should explain how,” Kalyan Banerjee said.
“Amit Shah doesn’t know Bengal’s political history. He is misleading people. He lied to make Trinamool Congress leaders join BJP… Mamata Banerjee was expelled from the Congress and she started the Trinamool Congress. She was never part of any party,” Kalyan Banerjee said, replying to Mr Shah’s swipe at Mamata Banerjee that she is pointing at others who are jumping parties when she also had a stint in the Congress.
The centre is misusing its power to target West Bengal government and trying to weaken the Trinamool Congress ahead of the election, Kalyan Banerjee said.
At today’s rally, Mr Shah said the party would form the next government in the state with more than 200 seats. West Bengal has a 294-member assembly.
Both Mr Shah and Mr Adhikari referred to growing discontent among the people and the party about the rise of Ms Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee. Mr Adhikari even gave the slogan, “Bhaipo hatao (remove the nephew)”.
Mr Shah earlier cited the examples of freedom fighters like Khudiram Bose and Ramprasad Bismil to tell rival parties in West Bengal that indulging in regionalism was “shallow politics” and ought to be shunned – a possible counter to Trinamool’s efforts at painting the BJP as “outsiders”.
The BJP has been investing unprecedented amount of time and resources in the state ahead of the polls, looking to replace the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress from power.