Suvendu Adhikari said Thursday that she made the right decision to join the BJP and that the move has the approval of the people.
Leading a giant roadshow in his homeland of Kanthi, Adhikari also announced that he will speak at a rally in Nandigram on January 8, a day after a similar program is likely to be held by Prime Minister Mamata Banerjee.
“The roadshow proved that I made the right decision and I have the approval of the people,” he said.
The roadshow took nearly three hours to cover the 5km distance from the Mecheda ring road to the central bus station, where it addressed a public meeting. It started around 2.30pm and ended at 5.30pm, when thousands of people choked the streets of this small town in the Purba Medinipur district.
“You (Mamata Banerjee) are welcome to come to Nandigram on January 7 and I will respond to what you say there the next day,” Adhikari said, addressing his first demonstration at his base as the leader of the BJP.
Mr. Adhikari said Ms Banerjee never went to Nandigram on January 7, March 14, or November 10, the turning points in the 2007 Nandigram movement against the then Left Front government.
The former TMC leader is considered to be the backbone of the Nandigram movement that played a crucial role in Mamata Banerjee’s coming to power in the state in 2011, defeating the Left Front.
Mr. Adhikari asked why the TMC leadership was concerned and sending so many of its leaders every week to Purba Medinipur if they really think his exit doesn’t matter.
Criticizing Minister of State Firhad Hakim who addressed a demonstration in the area on Wednesday, Adhikari said he was unable to handle the situation in Calcutta as mayor after Cyclone Amphan and that the army and disaster management teams of Odisha had to be called in to restore normalcy.
Stating that it was a fight between a boy from the village and four to five people from southern Kolkata, he said: “Of the 60 state government departments, 40 are in the hands of these few people.”
Adhikari said that having been at the forefront of the Nandigram movement and having confronted the Maoists and its leader Kishenji in Jangalmahal, he is not worried about these people.
He said Saugata Roy, who accused him of dropping out of the TMC, was a congressional candidate against Mamata Banerjee in the South Calcutta constituency in the 1998 election in Lok Sabha, which the TMC supreme fought in alliance with Atal Bihari. Vajpayee led by the BJP.
Adhikari claimed he was a savior of the TMC by fighting Left Front leaders Kiranmoy Nanda and Lakshman Seth in the assembly and elections of Lok Sabha, when no one in the TMC was willing to face them in the 1990s and early 2000s. He said that together with BJP state president Dilip Ghosh, he will make sure the BJP wins all 35 seats in the Purba and Paschim Medinipur districts.
“Dilip Ghosh of Gopiballavpur in Paschim Medinipur and I have combined the sandy soil of the Bay of Bengal coast and the red soil of Jangalmahal and will sleep only after the lotus has blossomed,” he said.
Claiming that his family played a crucial role in TMC’s victories from polling stations at Purba Medinipur, Adhikari said Mamata Banerjee’s party will come second in the 2021 assembly election in the state, while pole position will be taken by the BJP.
Suvendu’s father, Sisir Adhikari, is a member of Kanthi’s TMC Parliament, while his brother Dibyendu is a deputy from neighboring Tamluk’s party. Another brother Soumendu is the president of the municipality of Kanthi held by the TMC.
Accusing the TMC leadership of stepmother attitude towards Kanthi, she said: “While Diamond Harbor has two universities and two medical colleges, Kanthi has achieved nothing.”
The Diamond Harbor Lok Sabha seat is held by Abhishek Banerjee, grandson of the TMC chief.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is posted by a syndicated feed.)