West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and TMC MLA Abhishek Banerjee, speaking at a rally at Dakshin Dinajpur, rejected ‘extortion’ allegations against him. “If it’s proven I’m extortionist nephew (‘tolabaj bhaipo’), direct me to gallows, I’ll hang myself. You don’t need ED or CBI.”
The TMC and BJP are at loggerheads with leaders from both the parties leaving no opportunity to hit out at each other, ahead of the Assembly Election 2021. While rejecting allegations on him, Abhishek also hit out at the BJP saying, “Kailash Vijayawargiya is an outsider and his son is a ‘gunda’. Dilip Ghosh is a ‘gunda’.
Earlier, claiming that the BJP was losing ground in many states, the TMC on Thursday contended that Mamata Banerjee will return to power for a third consecutive term in West Bengal. TMC leader and state minister Chandrima Bhattacharya said that her party has fared better in 2019 Lok Sabha elections in terms of vote share compared to 2014 parliamentary polls in Bengal. She said that the TMC, which received 39.70 per cent votes in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, increased its share to 43.3 per cent in 2019.
“There is no doubt that Didi (Mamata Banerjee) will return for the third time. The BJP is daydreaming of coming to power,” she said, addressing a press conference. The saffron party, which had won only two Lok Sabha seats in 2014, triumphed in 18 of the 42 constituencies in the state during 2019 elections with 40.7 per cent vote share, emerging as the main opponent of the ruling TMC.
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Maintaining that the BJP’s claim of a pan-India support was not true, Bhattacharya said, “The party has lost 66 per cent Assembly seats in the country and are in clear majority only in 12 states.” The West Bengal minister of state for health and law and justice further said that the saffron camp has not been able to bag any seat in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, and has less than 10 seats each in nine other states.
“In Tamil Nadu, it has failed to secure any seat out of the 234 constituencies. The saffron party secured just one out of 140 seats in Kerala, two out of 119 in Telangana, eight out of 70 in Delhi, 14 of 90 in Chhattisgarh, 25 of 81 seats in Jharkhand, 105 of 288 constituencies in Maharashtra, two out of 117 in Punjab and six out of 294 in Bengal,” she said.
Bhattacharya asserted that in most states where the saffron party is part of the coalition government, it has only a few seats in its kitty – two out of 40 in Meghalaya and 12 out of 60 in Nagaland.
Putting forth more figures to buttress her claim, the TMC leader said that the saffron party, which got 51 per cent votes in Maharashtra in 2019 Lok Sabha elections, had its share reduced to 42 per cent in state’s assembly polls, a few months later the same year.
“In Haryana, it got 58 per cent votes in 2019 parliamentary polls, but could manage only 36 per cent a few months later during the state elections,” she said. The minister, during her press meet, also paid homage to the “martyrs” of the land acquisition agitation, on the 14th anniversary of Nandigram massacre.
She said that the party has the highest regards for those who sacrificed their lives during protests in Singur, Nandigram and elsewhere in the state.
At least six people were killed on January 7 in 2007 at Nandigram in East Midnapore district, marking the beginning of the anti-land acquisition movement. It was on the same date in 2011 that nine more people were killed at Netai in West Midnapore district.
Claiming that the ‘Duare Sarkar’ (government at doorsteps) project taken up by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was one of its kind, Bhattacharya said more than 1.82 crore people have so far visited numerous camps set up across the state for the purpose to avail the benefits of various state-run schemes.