After speculations that she had been approached by the BJP, Baisakhi Banerjee, a close friend of former Kolkata mayor Sovan Chatterjee, on Wednesday said the party offered her a ticket but she did not plan to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha election.
The BJP, however, denied making an offer but did not comment on the possibility of doing so in the future.
Speaking to reporters at Chatterjee’s south Kolkata residence, she said, “I am free to join any party, maybe in municipal or Assembly election, but I want to make it very clear that I will not be fighting the election this time and will not join any political party for the time being.”
When asked if she and Chatterjee were offered tickets by the BJP for the Lok Sabha election, she said, “Yes, I did receive a call from BJP leaders, they tried to convince me to join BJP. I wasn’t sure about my decision so I told them I will think and revert. I have been telling since beginning that Sovan is my idol and all my decisions reflects his thoughts. He wasn’t offered a ticket separately, but through me, BJP did offer us.”
Responding, BJP state general secretary Sayantan Basu told The Indian Express, “There was no offer from BJP to her. Whether she was called by any BJP leader or not, I wouldn’t like to talk about it, because anyone can call anybody. Whether we will offer her in future or not that’s all speculation and I wouldn’t be able to say anything on that.”
Chatterjee also claimed no offer was made to him. “I have never been offered to join BJP. Baisakhi is an individual, she might have received a call which she did on March 2 and it’s a small world any one can call anyone. These are mere speculations,” he said.
Meanwhile, Banerjee did not rule out the possibility of campaigning in favour of a political party but said she would not campaign for the Trinamool Congress. “If offered, I may campaign. However, I will not campaign for TMC, that’s for sure,” she said.
Two days earlier, Banerjee had sent a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner about a mob that “attacked” her and Chatterjee in Raichak. She alleged that on March 10, the bungalow they were in was gheraoed by goons, and despite repeated calls to police, no protection was given.
“If rumours of contesting election under the banner of opposition party can evoke this kind of violence of words, how safely can we cast or vote in this election,” read her letter.