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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Mamata called to seek support in Nandigram, claims Suvendu confidant

The TMC said the tape was not verified but added that if true there was nothing wrong with Banerjee approaching a former party man. The Indian Express did not independently verify the content of the audio clip and could not confirm its authenticity.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata |
March 28, 2021 3:50:27 am
Mamata called to seek support in Nandigram, claims Suvendu confidant

As 30 Assembly seats in West Bengal went to the polls on Saturday in the first phase, the BJP released an audio clip in which a person that the party claims is Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is heard seeking help from a former Trinamool Congress (TMC) worker now with the BJP. The caller is heard asking the BJP leader to support her in Nandigram.

The TMC said the tape was not verified but added that if true there was nothing wrong with Banerjee approaching a former party man. The Indian Express did not independently verify the content of the audio clip and could not confirm its authenticity.

Banerjee is contesting the election from the seat in Purba Medinipur district against her former associate Suvendu Adhikari, who joined the BJP last December. The BJP’s Nandigram vice-president Pralay Pal, a close aide of Adhikari, said he received the call from the TMC chief.

“Ebare amader ektu sahajjo kore dao na, dekhbe kono osubidhe hobe na [Help us a bit this time, you will not face problems],” a woman that the BJP claims is Banerjee is heard telling Pal.

The BJP leader then tells her that it was unfortunate that he did not “get a residential certificate”, to which she replies, “Eta ke korechilo tumi jano. Tomader local je leader chilo se amake Nandigram e jete dito na. Ebong se amake Nandigram e dhukte dito na. Sara Midnapore e dhukte dito na, tader ekta jomidari cholche. Tumi toh jano shob e bhai. [You know very well who did this. Your local leader did not let me go to Nandigram, even I was not allowed to enter Midnapore. They are running a zamindari. You know everything, brother].”

Pal, however, tells the caller he has left the TMC and cannot betray the BJP. The woman purported to be the TMC chief then tells him, “Jader jonno korcho tara toh konodin BJP koreni. Jara ekhon korche tader ke tumi biswas koro je tara manusher kaaj korche? [Those you are working for have never belonged to the BJP. Do you believe that those who are working for the party now are working for the people?].”

Pall then tells the person that the Adhikaris stood by him when he faced “atrocities from the CPM”. He adds, “Didi apnake oshonkho dhonnobaad amake phone korar jonno kintu Didi amae khoma korben [Didi, I thank you for calling me but please forgive me].”

The woman purported to be Banerjee ends the call saying, “Tumi bhebe dekho. Bhalo theko. [Think this over. Stay well].”

A BJP delegation led by its national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and state leader Shishir Bajoria went to the Chief Electoral Officer with the audio clip, and also played it before the media.

“Mamata Banerjee is losing the election and that’s why [she is] begging for the support from our leader. This shows what will be the result on May 2,” said Bajoria.

Sharing the audio clip on Twitter, BJP IT-Cell chief Amit Malviya tweeted, “Massive! Mamata Banerjee calls Proloy Pal, BJP’s district Vice President in Nandigram and pleads for help! Proloy tells her that he was humiliated in TMC and he along with this family cannot betray the BJP. Pishi is definitely losing Nandigram and TMC Bengal.”

Senior TMC leader and state minister Subrata Mukherjee wondered where this “readymade audiotape” came from and asked if it was a planned move.

“I can only say that this is a nefarious move by the BJP to malign the good intentions of our leader. We feel proud of her attitude and frame of mind to have contacted a former Trinamool leader who for some reason has joined another party. It is the sign of a good leader to find out what was wrong and, if there is scope, to rectify the situation. We do not see any harm coming to the party because of this. On the other hand, this has shown the party’s leader and the party in good light. Our respect for her has increased after this,” he added.

The minister said it was “very surprising that a flawless and complete recording was made, as if the whole incident was pre-planned”.

He added, “It shows the slyness and cunning of the BJP leaders to have arranged all this. It shows them in a bad light. If a leader contacts a party leader who has recently left the party, it is very just and with all good intentions to find out what went wrong and to see if improvements can be made. But the BJP has twisted this and given it warped interpretation, saying all this is an indication of losing the poll battle. This is totally false, and is demeaning of political equations between parties that have existed all these years.”

TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh pointed out that the clip was not verified. “We don’t know whether it is true or false. But we do not see anything wrong in a politician calling her former leaders or aides. This is quite natural in politics,” he added.

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