BJP's leader of the opposition in the Bengal assembly, Suvendu Adhikari launched a sharp attack on Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's ambitions of being projected as a national leader by contending her planned campaign in Uttar Pradesh, on behalf the Samajwadi Dal, would boomerang.
Adhikari reacting to an announcement that Banerjee would campaign for Akhilesh Yadav as part of a show of opposition unity in the country's most populous state which is going to the polls in February-March, claimed on Wednesday that the `Sanatan Hindu community' would reject the chief minister given her appeasement politics for one community in Bengal."
"Her campaign in UP will do more harm than good for SP," the former aide to Banerjee claimed. Adhikari had on several instances in the past too played what analysts see as "Hindu card" while accused the chief minister of appeasing minorities.
Reacting to Adhikari's statement, TMC state spokesman Kunal Ghosh said, "Whatever Suvendu has become today, in his political career and as a former minister, he owes to Mamata Banerjee ...However, he doesn't have (any sense of) gratitude".
Ghosh pointed out Banerjee's popularity and acceptability across the country had risen after TMC's landslide victory in last year's Bengal Assembly poll. "BJP's star campaigner Yogi Adityanath had on the other hand addressed several sparsely attended meetings during the Bengal polls as he had no standing among its people," he said.
Adhikari had been one of Banerjee's lieutenants in the Nandigram movement against the setting up of a chemical hub by the then Left Front government by displacing farmers. However, he defected to BJP months before the West Bengal assembly polls and managed to defend the Adhikari family's pocket borough in Nandigram by a slender margin in a controversial election against the TMC supremo.
The Nandigram legislator said, "Her presence will be counterproductive as brutality in post-poll violence in Bengal against political opponents has shaken the conscience of the nation and made the common man antagonistic to Trinamool Congress."
TMC does not intend to contest in Uttar Pradesh and will support Samajwadi Party in the fight against the BJP, senior SP leader Kiranmoy Nanda had said on Tuesday after meeting Banerjee at her residence. Describing Banerjee as one of the “most prominent anti-BJP faces” in the country, Nanda said the TMC supremo will visit Varanasi in February but the date is yet to be fixed.
To a question about the hearing of the case relating to Mukul Roy's continuation as PAC chairman, Adhikari said "We are waiting for the Supreme Court verdict in the case". BJP had moved the speaker's office in July 2021 contending that Roy, who had joined TMC after winning on BJP ticket from Krishnanagar Dakshin assembly seat, cannot occupy the PAC chairman's post as it is traditionally given to a senior opposition MLA in the house.
Responding to the BJP leader's comments, Ghosh said "Adhikari should first explain why his father Sisir Adhikari is not stepping down as MP despite being elected on a TMC ticket in 2019. He should not continue as TMC MP" after pledging his support to Amit Shah in 2021 January in a public rally. "Why is Suvendu silent on this?" he asked.
With inputs from PTI.