August 2, 2021 4:17:00 am
As part of its outreach in BJP-ruled Tripura, TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee will visit the north-eastern state where the party claims it has a sizeable support base, on Monday.
The scheduled visit of Banerjee, nephew of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the de facto number two in the party, comes days after a controversy erupted over the “detention” of poll strategist Prashant Kishor’s I-PAC team in an Agartala hotel room by the police that cited the prevailing Covid-19 restrictions.
The incident prompted back-to-back visits to Tripura by TMC leaders, including West Bengal ministers Bratya Basu and Malay Ghatak and TMC MP Derek O’Brien, who decried the “illegal detention of young boys and girls” of a professional firm.
Banerjee will offer prayers at the Tripureswari temple in Agartala during the day, hold a meeting with party members, and address the media in the afternoon, said sources in the TMC. Elections in the north-eastern state are slated to be held in 2023.
Deputy leader of the TMC in the Rajya Sabha, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, told PTI, “Abhishek will lead the party’s journey in Tripura where Bengalis and other communities are rooting for us, our leader Mamata Banerjee.”
“They are frustrated with the performance of the Biplab Deb-led BJP government,” the Trinamool MP added.
Trinamool had set sights of expansing its footprint outside Bengal after the polls. The “landslide victory of the TMC in West Bengal on the face of BJP blitzkrieg” had encouraged a majority of Bengali voters in Tripura to pledge their support for Mamata Banerjee, the parliamentarian claimed.
“Abhishek Banerjee is immensely popular among the Tripura electorate — youth and women in particular. He will chalk out the road map of our Tripura journey,” he added.
Veteran TMC leader and Lok Sabha MP Saugata Roy claimed that “Abhishek’s visit will be the precursor to the storm that will be raised by our supremo Mamata Banerjee in Tripura in the near future”.
Making light of the visit by TMC national general secretary, Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh pointed out that the Mamata Banerjee-led party had no base anywhere outside the state.
Speaking to reporters in Kolkata, Ghosh said all TMC leaders and workers in Tripura have joined the BJP over the years. “Does the TMC have a presence outside Bengal? I don’t know whether it has a base in Tripura anymore. All their workers and leaders have joined the BJP over the years.
“The TMC had made futile attempts to gain a foothold in the state. But people in Tripura are with us. Instead of going there, the party should focus on Bengal where we have increased our tally from 3 seats to 77 in a short span of time,” the Bengal BJP chief said.
With inputs from PTI
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