A day after joining the BJP, former TMC Minister Rajib Banerjee on Sunday alleged that TMC-led government is stopping people in the state to join the BJP by harassing them using police. This statement comes after Rajib Banerjee along with four other TMC leaders joined BJP on Saturday in the presence of former BJP National President and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya among others.
While speaking with ANI, the TMC turned BJP leader was asked if more people are in line to switch allegiance to BJP, to which he responded, "many leaders were supposed to join today. TMC government is threatening and harassing people using police. So many people refrained from coming today. Wait for a few days, not just Howrah, we will break into every district."
Earlier in the day, Rajib Banerjee addressed a rally at Dumurjala stadium in Howrah and lashed out at TMC over the deteriorating law and order situation in the state while accusing the ruling party of filing false cases against those striving for development.
The former West Bengal Forest Minister resigned from the post and quit TMC on Friday. Rajib Banerjee along with TMC's Baishali Dalmiya, Prabir Ghoshal and Rathin Chakraborti came to Delhi on Saturday along with BJP's Mukul Roy, and Kailash Vijayvargiya to jump ship from TMC to BJP.
The Mamata Banerjee-led party recently witnessed the exodus of Suvendu Adhikari along with 6 MLAs, 1 MP, and 16 other grassroots leaders - who joined BJP and have now been fielded in the saffron party's political campaign. Later, Adhikari's two brothers joined BJP, while his father has been removed from his party post. While sports minister Laxmi Ratan Shukla has 'retired' from politics, Rajib Banerjee has joined BJP.
West Bengal, where Mamata Banerjee holds fort with 222 seats, will go to polls in April-May 2021. The TMC at present has 222 seats in the assembly. The BJP aims to cross the 200 seats mark while TMC via its poll strategist Prashant Kishore has contended that BJP will not cross double digits.
Mamata Banerjee and her ex confidante Suvendu Adhikari who switched allegiance to BJP are most likely to battle it out for Nandigram constituency. While Mamata Banerjee announced to contest the elections from Nandigram which is a stronghold of Suvendu Adhikari, the latter has vowed to defeat her with at least 50,000 votes or else he will quit politics. Adhikari has taken the responsibility of defeating Mamata Banerjee in Nandigram regardless of who contests the constituency from BJP.
(with inputs from ANI)