Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Abhishek Banerjee on Thursday lashed out at the BJP for levelling corruption allegations against him, daring the Opposition party to “build gallows in public [so I can] embrace death” if they can prove the accusations.
“They are attacking me every day. They say ‘remove the extortionist nephew’. I have said this earlier, and I am saying this again in front of the cameras here, let the CBI and Enforcement Directorate conduct a probe. If it is proved that I have made even a penny through corruption you won’t have to do anything. I will voluntarily walk to the gallows and hang myself,” Banerjee said amid loud applause at a well-attended TMC rally at Gangarampur in Dakshin Dinajpur district.
Targeting former party colleague and current BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari, who has led the attacks on him, the Diamond Harbour MP said, “You do not have the courage to take my name and always refer to me as ‘bhaipo [nephew]’ so that I cannot sue you in court. You call me ‘tolabaaj [extortionist]’ but you are the one who was seen in the [Narada sting operation] video accepting money.”
Responding to Banerjee later in the afternoon at a rally in Tamluk in Purba Medinipur district, Adhikari said, “The ‘tolabaaj bhaipo’ has to tell the people why all government contracts are given to some specific people in Kolkata and what is the source of his prosperity. Even school bags and bicycles given to students are so sub-standard that these have to be repaired before use.”
The former state transport minister added, “Despite all the criticism they face, the CPI(M) and the Left leaders did a lot of good work. The TMC ruined everything. In the education sector, for example, the appointment of teachers has stopped and corruption has crept in.”
At the Gangarampur rally, which was streamed live on Facebook, Banerjee labelled BJP national leaders “outsiders”, saying, “They neither speak Bengali nor do they know the history and culture of Bengal. Bengal will not bow before Gujarat. Nobody can teach us patriotism.”
The MP criticised the Opposition party on a host of issues, ranging from the Doklam standoff to demonetisation and corruption. “It has been four years since we had demonetisation. India’s GDP has gone down from 8% to minus 4%. Who will answer for that?” he asked.
“Before the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, PM Modi said he would not spare any criminal and corrupt person and now the BJP is inducting all the thieves. Before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Modi made a long speech on Pulwama. We also want the Centre to crush the threats posed by Pakistan. But why are Modi and Amit Shah silent on China?” the MP asked.
Banerjee is on a five-day tour of north Bengal, where the BJP bagged seven of the region’s eight Lok Sabha seats in 2019.
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