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If BJP doesn't cross 100 seats, Amit Shah must resign from Lok Sabha seat: Derek O’Brien

Poornima Joshi | Updated on March 27, 2021

TMC MP Derek O'Brien. File photo   -  The Hindu

TMC leader Derek O’Brien shares his views regarding the West Bengal Elections

The Assembly elections have commenced in West Bengal. Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien speaks with BusinessLine on the probable outcome of the polls. Excerpts:

Isn’t the election becoming too close?

There’s a lot of media narrative around it because that is how the BJP functions and creates impressions without any basis. Look at their advertising revenue and the way books are being written to create a strong narrative for the BJP - three new Bangla TV channels have come up in the last few months, some with obvious political support. But I’d say this to Amit Shah, you say you will cross 200 seats in Bengal. I say - if you cross do not 100, you must resign from your Lok Sabha seat and if you cross 200 seats I will resign my Rajya Sabha seat.

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I’ve just arrived today and there’s word on the street about latent anger and anti-incumbency.

Let us talk facts. In 2019 (Lok Sabha elections), the BJP’s about 40 per cent vote share takes them to 121 seats and our close to 44 per cent takes up to 164. If you look at all the assembly elections after the Lok Sabha, the BJP has lost its vote share. BJP's vote share has shown a decline of 8-33 per cent in all the States that have gone to polls, after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Let us take four big districts – In South 24 Pargana, the TMC was ahead in 31 out of 31 assembly constituencies in the Lok Sabha elections. In North 24 Pargana, the TMC was ahead in 20 out of 33 assembly seats. In Kolkata, all 11 of 11 assembly seats went to TMC. In Murshidabad, out of 22 seats, the BJP got zero in 2019 and they will get zero in 2021. So, tell me, where are their seats coming from?

You cannot deny that there is a lot of anti-incumbency and anger especially against individual MLAs.

There is no anti-incumbency against Didi. She is the only leader in Bengal. So far as localised anger against some individuals is concerned, we have replaced at least 100 MLAs. We are fighting this with fresh vigour and new policies. No one can challenge our welfare policies. We have given a Health Card to women which they can use for their parents, brothers besides their immediate family; children, in-laws. Our Duare Sarkar scheme is helping people get their ration cards, voter IDs, health cards at their doorstep, to prevent early marriage and increase child-bearing age, we give Rs 25,000 to girls when they turn 18. Free rations have been given. We’re giving direct cash transfers to 92 per cent of bank account holders. Didi, welfarism and strong organisation is our strength. The BJP cannot even go near at least 116 seats, where are they getting their numbers.

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A lot of your strong leaders have left, Mamata Banerjee herself faces a tough challenge in Nandigram.

Didi will win convincingly. Don’t get swayed by the artificial wave the BJP is trying to create.

Published on March 27, 2021

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