Kolkata: Tearing into the “dynastic politics” of West Bengal’s ruling Trinamul Congress, Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday claimed chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who he claimed was planning to make her MP nephew Abhishek Banerjee the next CM, would soon find herself “isolated” ahead of next year’s Assembly elections. He also claimed that the BJP would win 200 out of the state’s total 294 seats in the election.
Mr Shah, who is on a two-day visit to the state, made the forecast in Midnapore after former TMC heavyweight Shubhendu Adhikari joined the BJP in his presence with a long list of loyalists, including nine MLAs, an MP and at least six dozen key district TMC office-bearers in what turned out to be a mega defection fair on the coldest day of the season in the state.
Among the prominent were six TMC MLAs -- Banasri Maity of Kanthi North; Biswajit Kundu of Kalna; Saikat Panja of Burdwan East; Shilbhadra Dutta of Barrackpore; Dipali Biswas of Gajol and Sukra Munda of Nagarkata. There were also one MLA each from several other parties -- Sudip Mukherjee of the Congress from Purulia, Tapasi Mondal of the CPI(M) from Haldia and Ashoke Dinda of CPI from Tamluk -- apart from two-time TMC MP of Burdwan East Sunil Mondal, former Alipurduar MP Dasharath Tirkey and former state textiles minister Shyamapada Mukherjee.
Praising Mr Adhikari’s leadership in bringing “all the good people” to the BJP, Mr Shah told the grand rally: “Didi claims the BJP is a party of converts. I remind her: What was your party at the root? Was it TMC? When you left the Congress and built the TMC, wasn’t it a change of party? Now, when Shubhendu Bhai comes to work under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership against injustice and exploitation, you find it a switchover! This is just a beginning. You will be left alone as the polls near. With the elections around the corner, I see a tsunami like Didi has never imagined.”
Accusing Ms Banerjee of dynastic politics in the TMC, the Union home minister claimed: “Those who are joining us once came out with ‘Maa Mati Manush’. The slogan of any party is not bad. But you have turned your slogan into extortion, appeasement and Bhatijabad. You cannot see the future of the state’s 10 crore Bengali population. Your focus remains only on your nephew and when to make him the CM.”
Reiterating that the BJP’s target was to win over 200 Assembly seats out of the state’s 294 next year, he also attacked the TMC for its workers’ violent attack on BJP president J.P. Nadda's convoy by stone-pelting. “Didi, do you think this would leave us scared? Already, 300 workers of our party lost their lives. The more you attack us, our resistance will only grow.”
Attacking “narrow political regionalism” in an apparent dig at Ms Banerjee, Mr Shah earlier said: “Those who play the narrow politics of regionalism… I tell them Khudiram Bose belongs to India as much as to Bengal. Our freedom fighters never thought of such narrow politics of regionalism. All should rise above the narrow politics of regionalism.”