Arjun Singh, BJP leader who crossed over from TMC, had claimed in March that about 100 TMC MLAs would switch over to BJP ‘very soon’.
Kolkata: As voting was underway for the fourth phase of Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal and eight other states on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi created a sensation by claiming that 40 legislators of Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul Congress (TMC) are in touch with him and will change camp as soon as the results are announced on May 23. West Bengal’s ruling party dismissed his claim and asked if he was campaigning for an election or horse trading.
Launching an attack on Ms Banerjee at a rally in Sreerampore, Hooghly, Mr Modi said, “Didi, on May 23, when the results will be declared, the lotus will bloom everywhere and your MLAs will leave you. Even today, Didi, 40 of your MLAs are in contact with me.”
Stunning Ms Banerjee with her worst fear of a revolt in her party, the Prime Minister also resolved to wipe out her party “drop by drop” from the state.
He said that that Delhi will remain a distant dream for her with “a handful of MPs” and mocked her aspiration as an “excuse” to help her nephew — TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee — to succeed her in the state.
Describing Ms Banerjee as a “betrayer”, Mr Modi said her survival is difficult. “Your survival is difficult now because you have broken people’s trust. You will not find a place to flee to.”
He added, “The youth will make you pay the price of your betrayal. Choope chaap kamal chhap; boond boond se TMC saaf!”
TMC’s parliamentary leader in the Rajya Sabha, Derek O’Brien, rubbished Mr Modi’s claim and said that not a single MLA will jump ship.
“Expiry Babu PM. Nobody will go with you, not even one councillor.
Are you election campaigning or horse trading, your expiry date is near. Today we are complaining to EC. Charging you with horse trading,” ANI quoted Mr O’Brien as saying.
The PM’s prediction of a possible revolt in the TMC assumes significance in context of the BJP’s present strength of three MLAs among 294 members in the state Assembly where the Trinamul won 211 seats while the Congress got 44 in 2016.
If Mr Modi’s words come true, the BJP would, at least, get an opportunity stake claim for the main Opposition party status in the House as more than a dozen Congress MLAs have defected to the Trinamul in last three years.
Earlier, countering Ms Banerjee’s offer of clay-made sweets filled with gravel to him, Mr Modi said, “The soil where Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekananda, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Syama Prasad Mookherji were born and the soil which their feet touched, is holy. I will, therefore, think of the rosogolla made from the soil of Bengal as prasad, I thank you in advance for this, Didi.”
“You (Banerjee) also said you will send some stones mixed in the sweets. I welcome that too as otherwise those stones could have been used to burst open the heads of the people of Bengal by your goons. So it is better that you to send them to me,” he added.
At a rally in Raniganj on April 26, Ms Banerjee had said, “Just like cashew nuts and raisins are put in laddoos, we will give laddoos made of clay with stones in them to break his (Modi’s) teeth.”
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