‘Remove those with links to BJP’, Mamata Banerjee tells TMC at party meet
Mamata Banerjee’s direction came after seven TMC MLAs, more than 60 councillors and more than a dozen zilla parishad members switched over to the BJP since the Lok Sabha elections.Updated: Jul 05, 2019 22:24 IST
Mamata Banerjee on Friday called for the identification of those who are in touch with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and their removal from the Trinamool Congress (TMC) even as she assured her party members that they would win the Assembly elections in 2021.
Addressing TMC leaders from Bankura and Jhargram districts in a closed-door meeting at the party’s head office in Kolkata, Banerjee urged them to go back to the people to re-establish contacts with the common man.
“The chief minister told us that we would win the elections to the state legislature scheduled in 2021. However, she emphasised that we pinpoint those in the party who are keeping in touch with leaders in the BJP,” said a ruling party leader.
Banerjee also told her party leaders not to get involved in any clash with the supporters of any party, said another ruling party leader of Bankura district. She also pulled up a few leaders for losing contact with the people.
A ruling party leader also said that the chief minister urged them to reduce dependence on the administration and strengthen the party organisaiton.
Since the TMC got a jolt in the Lok Sabha elections in which the BJP won 18 seats, a 900 per cent rise from its tally of two seats in 2014, Mamata Banerjee said that she would devote more time to party affairs and less as an administrator.
Significantly, seven ruling party MLAs, more than 60 councillors and more than a dozen zilla parishad members have switched over from the TMC to the BJP since the Lok Sabha election results.
The Bengal chief minister’s comment on indentifying those with links to the BJP drew a sharp retort from a leader of the saffron party in the state.
“How many TMC leaders will the ruling party identify? From gram panchayat to legislators, TMC leaders from all levels are keeping in touch with me,” retorted BJP Jhargram district president Sukhamay Satpati.
The BJP wrested the Jhargram Lok Sabha constituency from the ruling party by a margin of 11,767 votes.
Banejee also told party members at the meeting that BJP leaders were distorting her comment on the issue of ‘cut money’.
The ‘cut money’ issue has rocked the state since Banerjee announced on June 18 that her party leaders, who took illegal commissions from the beneficiaries of government welfare schemes, should return the money to those for whom it was intended for.
Since her statement, villagers in different districts have agitated in front of houses and offices of dozens of her party leaders, put up roadblocks, extracted written promises from a few that they would return the money and in a few cases, have actually succeeded in getting cash back.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the TMC vote share stood at 43.28% and the BJP was breathing down its neck at 40.25%, recording a jump of 23.23 percentage points over 2014.
The TMC voteshare was 39.79% in 2014. TMC won 22 seats this year against its tally of 34 in 2014.