Bhabanipur by-polls: Hardeep Puri thinks Mamata Banerjee is a 'little nervous’. Here's why
Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Thursday that West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee looks a “little nervous” about the upcoming assembly by-elections in Bhabanipur, a day after he campaigned there for the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) candidate Priyanka Tibrewal.
“She is a little nervous. I get a feeling that she is aware of the undercurrent of resentment against her,” the Union petroleum minister told news agency ANI. Puri was referring to remarks made by Banerjee on Wednesday, when the chief of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) alleged that the opposition BJP was bringing in “outsiders to create disturbances" during the September 30 by-polls.
Previously, Banerjee had raised “outsiders” pitch while campaigning for the assembly elections as well. Though the TMC won a third consecutive term by securing 213 seats, the chief minister, who left Bhabanipur to contest from Nandigram against her former aide, BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari, lost to him after a seesaw battle.
Puri, meanwhile, explained why, according to him, the Bengal chief minister is “nervous.” He said, “She also realises that things like post-poll violence are going to be issues in these by-elections.”
Last month, the Calcutta high court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe allegations of post-poll violence in the eastern state. The BJP has alleged that its supporters and voters were targeted by members of the ruling dispensation for several days after the TMC's victory on May 2, when counting of votes took place.
The West Bengal government and the ruling party have both dismissed these allegations. The state government has approached the Supreme Court against the high court's order.
Tibrewal, a lawyer, appeared for the BJP for hearings in the high court. She joined the party in 2014, and is a vice-president of the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), its youth wing.
Counting of votes for the Bhabanipur by-polls will take place on October 3. Banerjee needs to win to retain her seat as the chief minister.