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Abhishek, Suvendu face off in each other’s turf ahead of panchayat polls

Banerjee alleged that Adhikari, the Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly, had won the election to the Nandigram Assembly seat against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in 2021 by resorting to unfair means. He also claimed that fresh elections would see Adhikari “befittingly” defeated.

Abhishek Banerjee, Suvendu Adhikari, Trinamool Congress, West Bengal BJP, Bengal panchayat polls, West Bengal, Kolkata, Indian Express, current affairsAbhishek Banerjee

Targeting each other ahead of panchayat polls in West Bengal, TMC all-India general secretary Abhishek Banerjee and BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari both held rallies in the other’s home turf on Saturday.

Banerjee alleged that Adhikari, the Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly, had won the election to the Nandigram Assembly seat against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in 2021 by resorting to unfair means. He also claimed that fresh elections would see Adhikari “befittingly” defeated.

“He (Adhikari) claims to have defeated the CM. He calls her a compartmental CM. Before calling Mamata Banerjee, he must realise that he is an RAC (a reference to the ‘reservation against cancellation’ status of some railway tickets) Opposition leader. He is the only MLA in India, whose victory is still under trial,” Abhishek Banerjee said, addressing a party rally in Purba Medinipur district’s Contai, only a few metres away from Adhikari’s residence ‘Shantikunj’.

Adhikari, speaking at a rally in South 24 Parganas district’s Diamond Harbour, the Lok Sabha constituency of Banerjee, said a TMC leader would be arrested this month.

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“I will come here once again in December. I will bring a truckload of sweets because a top leader will be arrested this month. Just wait and trust me,” he said.

“Since 2016 no one has been allowed to cast his vote here. Not in the 2018 panchayat polls, not even in 2021(Assembly polls). In the 2018 panchayat polls, they did not allow nominations to be submitted. But this time, it will be a different game altogether. You all prepare the candidates’ list and I assure you that nominations will be filed this time,” Adhikari said.

Challenging Adhikari to put him in jail, Banerjee said, “He had said that he would put me in jail. Come if you have guts and put me in jail. He will give a lesson to Bengal by stopping the Centre’s money. We don’t need your money. As long as Mamata Banerjee is there, we will not beg before Delhi.”

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Targeting Adhikari over his switch to the BJP from the TMC, Banerjee said, “Medinipur’s honour was destroyed in December 2020 by one man who in order to save his skin from the clutches of CBI and ED backstabbed the people of Medinipur and joined the BJP. May I remind him, the people will never forget your treachery? In December 2020, the people of Medinipur witnessed the betrayal when a man went and touched Amit Shah’s feet to save himself. Such people have no place in our society. Such people have insulted the people of Bengal with their treachery.”

Talking about the ‘courtesy’ meeting he had with Mamata last week, Adhikari said, “At the Assembly, you wanted to get hold of me? You thought I would come alone (to the meeting). You thought there would be a setting with me. But I took three MLAs with me. I have defeated you and I will drive you out.”

He also alleged that the stage erected for his rally was forcibly dismantled the previous night.

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“Finally, a public meeting is happening here despite terror tactics by Trinamool Congress. Last night, miscreants forced the decorator to dismantle the stage which was erected. I had to call a decorator in Howrah at midnight who came in the morning and rebuilt this stage,” he said, adding, “They forcibly stopped 222 vehicles carrying BJP workers from reaching the rally venue…Twenty thousand workers were not allowed to come.”

First published on: 04-12-2022 at 00:47 IST
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