TMC’s Abhishek Banerjee challenges Amit Shah after being summoned by ED
The TMC after returning to power in West Bengal for the third consecutive term with a sweeping victory in the recently-held assembly elections is now eyeing Tripura where assembly polls are due in 2023.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee challenged Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday to try and stop the Trinamool Congress from expanding its base in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states.
Mamata too mounted an attack against the BJP led-Centre after the Enforcement Directorate summoned Abhishek Banerjee and his wife Rujira Banerjee for questioning in the multi-crore coal smuggling case, while alleging that the RJD chief was being kept in jail by BJP so that he could not take part in Bihar polls.
The TMC chief also said that she would call a conference of chief ministers of all states to discuss the alleged blow on federal structure and interference of the Centre in state matters.
“I challenge Amit Shah. If you have the guts, try and stop the TMC. Do whatever you can. We will expand to other states and snatch that state from you. The TMC under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee will fight till its last drop of blood in any state where the BJP has drawn blood of the citizens,” said Abhishek Banerjee, TMC’s national general secretary.
Abhishek Banerjee, who is seen as the in-charge of the party’s expansion plans, announced in June this year that they plan to expand their base in other states ahead of the 2024 national polls to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The speeches of Mamata Banerjee and her nephew were aired live in a few states outside West Bengal including Tripura and Assam.
“If BJP has the guts let them stop the TMC. If anyone thinks that they will use the ED and CBI to frighten and threaten the TMC, the more committed we will be in our aim,” he said while virtually addressing the party’s youth wing on its foundation day.
The TMC after returning to power in West Bengal for the third consecutive term with a sweeping victory in the recently-held assembly elections is now eyeing Tripura where assembly polls are due in 2023. The north eastern state is being currently ruled by the BJP-- Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (BJP-IPFT) alliance.
“The game has just started in Tripura. Such games will be played in many other states. Till the time we uproot the BJP the fight will be going on,” he added.
“It is good to dream. Let them not make such emotional statements. We can talk on this once the TMC wins one seat in Tripura,” said Samik Bhattacharya, BJP spokesperson.
TMC chief Mamata Banerjee sharpened her attack against the Centre stating that her challenges have shot up after she came to power.
“Whenever the BJP-led Centre fails to fight politically they utilise the central agencies. Why blame only the TMC in the coal smuggling scam? Coal comes under the Union government. What were the central ministers doing? I can name a dozen ministers who have looted Asansol,” she said.
Asansol-Durgapur in West Burdwan district is the state’s biggest industrial and coal mining zone. Former Union minister and BJP leader Babul Supriyo had won from the Asansol Lok Sabha seat in 2014 and 2019. The region is home to the state’s biggest manufacturing industries including the Indian Iron and Steel Company, Eastern Coalfields Limited, Durgapur Fertilizer Project, Durgapur Thermal Power Station and Chittaranjan Locomotive Works among others along with a few hundred small and micro industries.
“Getting hold of an accused and then forcing him to write down the name of another person is not done. Amit Shah, please remember that when Central ministers and BJP leaders had come to West Bengal for campaigning before the assembly elections, they had put up in hotels owned by coal mafias. Should I release the list?” she said while warning that she hasn’t been vindictive till date but if the BJP points one finger then ten fingers could be raised against it.
“The BJP never made any indecent statements against the CM nor does the party want to launch personal attacks against her family members. Law will take its own course. BJP doesn’t believe in vindictive politics,” Bhattacharya said.
Raising questions over the funds raised by the PM Cares Fund and electoral bonds, she also said that if the Centre tries to threaten her with ED, she will send a sack full of documents (against BJP leaders) to ED and drag the agency to court if it fails to probe.
“Why is Lalu Prasad Yadav still in jail? You (BJP) have kept him in jail so that he cannot take part in Bihar elections. We know your strategy. We know who dictates and how the draft is prepared. Don’t think we are donkeys. Injustice is being done to Uddhav Thackeray in Maharashtra and Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi,” she added.
The Calcutta high court has recently ordered a CBI probe into the allegations of post-poll violence after an enquiry committee set up by the NHRC slammed the state government.
“While five BJP workers were killed, 16 TMC workers were killed in violence says the NHRC report. I have no problem with a CBI probe because the Bengal government has taken action in each and every case,” she said.