Elections

Forty TMC legislators in touch with BJP: PM

Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on April 29, 2019 Published on April 29, 2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi   -  Debasish Bhaduri

At least 40 Trinamool Congress (TMC) legislators are in touch with the BJP and are ready to switch sides once the general election is over, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday.

Addressing a rally at Serampore, 50 km from the city, Modi claimed these MLAs would desert the TMC soon.

Over the last few months, the BJP’s Bengal unit has been building up a narrative claiming that discontent leaders, cutting across parties such as the TMC, the Congress and the Left Front were in touch with the BJP.

This is the first time the Prime Minister or a senior party functionary gave credence to this narrative.

Didi (as Mamata Banerjee is known) Delhi door hai (Delhi is still a distant dream for you). Forty TMC MLAs are in touch with me and all your MLAs will desert you once the BJP wins the election. Political ground has slipped from under your feet,” Modi said.

Also read: Patriotism being abused in the country: Modi

TMC supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s one-time right hand Mukul Roy is the BJP’s biggest catch in West Bengal.

One out of the three candidates fielded by the BJP in the Lok Sabah polls in West Bengal is a deserter either from the TMC or the CPM. In all, 12 of the 42 candidates that the BJP has here are turncoats.

The TMC lost five of its leaders to the BJP this time. Prominent names include Anupam Hazra, Soumitra Khan, Arjun Singh, Humayun Kabir and Nishit Pramanik. Of these, Hazra and Khan are incumbent MPs who won on a TMC ticket in 2014.

‘Nepotism’

Modi also accused Mamata Banerjee of nepotism and trying to “politically establish” her nephew in the State.

Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek is an MP from Diamond Harbour, from where he is seeking re-election.“Going to Delhi is just an excuse. Her real intention is to politically establish her nephew,” he said.

Modi also raked up local issues across the two rallies — Serampore and Barrackpore — in the State.

Along with these two seats, five other constituencies — Bongaon, Howrah, Uluberia, Arambagh and Hooghly — will go to polls on May 6, the fifth phase of the elections.

All seven seats are said to be TMC strongholds but the BJP is banking on an improved show in border areas such as Bongaon (where the Hindu religious sect of Matuas are influential), and industrial areas such as Barrackpore, Serampore and Hooghly.

The Prime Minister spoke of the closed or ailing jute mills that dog the Hooghly banks spread across Barrackpore and Serampore.

He spoke in detail about the increase in jute MSP and the import duty on it, and mandatory use of jute bags in food packaging, as major steps taken by the BJP government at the Centre.

In Barrackpore, the BJP is betting on TMC dissident and local strongman Arjun Singh.

TMC to approach EC

Meanwhile, TMC leader and Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’ Brien accused the Prime Minister of horse trading for his remark.

“Expiry Babu PM... not even a single councillor will go with you. Are you campaigning or horse trading! Today, we are complaining to the Election Commission. Charging you with horse trading,” Brien tweeted.

 

For the latest on elections: Elections 2019

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Published on April 29, 2019
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