Coming down heavily on TMC leaders who joined the BJP post the Lok Sabha elections, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday called them "greedy and corrupt" and said the saffron party was "collecting garbage".
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo also said she would be replacing the "traitors" with "dedicated members" and asked those "undecided about joining the BJP" to leave her party at the earliest.
Banerjee's remarks came in the backdrop of three MLAs and a majority of councillors from five municipalities in the state defecting to the BJP from the TMC since the declaration of general election results last month.
"We are not bothered about a few corrupt and greedy leaders who are switching to some other party. They joined the BJP as they were afraid they might face consequences for their activities," the chief minister said.
She said her administration is contemplating action against those involved in corruption.
"We are throwing out our garbage and the BJP is collecting it. But joining some other party won't save anyone from corruption probe," Banerjee said at an internal meeting of party councillors from across the state.
The TMC boss said she would want to restructure her party ahead of the 2021 West Bengal Assembly elections, while insisting that those who were in two minds about switching to the BJP should leave immediately.
"I would like to urge those traitors who are still undecided on whether to join the BJP or stay in the TMC to leave the party. We don't want such leaders and workers," Banerjee said.
"One person will leave and 500 more will be inducted in his or her place. We want to restructure our party and replace corrupt and greedy workers with dedicated cadres," she added.
Admitting that her party's leadership made a few mistakes while dealing with old-timers and loyalists, the chief minister assured that the lapses would be taken care of.
Referring to legislator Sunil Singh, who joined the BJP on Monday, Banerjee said it was a misjudgement on the part of the TMC to have given him a ticket for Noapara Assembly bypoll last year, overlooking the candidature of Manju Basu, wife of slain TMC leader Bikash Basu.
She also instructed her party leaders and workers to increase their outreach activities.
Banerjee warned party members against infighting as it "affects the implementation of government schemes".
"Work hard and work honestly to reach out to the masses. Don't fall into the BJP's trap. People are looking at us. Do remember that councillors play a very important role, they are the face of the party in their respective wards," she said.