Two days after he said 21 MLAs from the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) are in touch with him, Bengal BJP leader Mithun Chakraborty said the number is actually much higher. Attending a pre-Durga Puja meeting at Chinsurah in Hooghly district, Chakraborty said he is in touch with a total of 38 MLAs.
“Besides, there are many other TMC MLAs who are directly in contact with the central leadership in Delhi,” the BJP leader was quoted as saying by Bengali newspaper Anandabazar Patrika.
Chakraborty further said not everyone associated with Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee-led TMC is a “thief”. “A section of those who are good in the TMC are in touch with the BJP,” he said.
Banerjee and her party have in the past hit out at the BJP for trying to oust opposition-ruled governments. The attacks intensified after the fall of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) regime, comprising the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Shiv Sena, in Maharashtra, and the eventual formation of a government by a Sena rebel in coalition with the BJP.
The Bengal chief minister has also accused the BJP of using central agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for dethroning non-BJP ruled states in the wake of summons issued to several opposition leaders, including TMC’s, in various cases.
Chakraborty denied talks of any monetary “give and take” policy between him and the TMC MLAs he is in touch with. He, however, said that many feel “choked inside” the TMC.
The Bollywood star-turned-politician further said that while the BJP central leadership has expressed displeasure and somewhat reluctance about accepting leaders from the TMC, he has assured them of bringing to the saffron fold only those who are not liars and thieves. “We won’t accept rotten potatoes,” the BJP leader said at the meeting in Bengali.
Chakraborty, however, declined to share names of TMC MLAs he is in touch with. Citing protocol, the BJP leader said whatever he said was only after his party’s approval.
Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar, was sat beside Chakraborty, said if the the leader is in touch with over 20 TMC MLAs, then at least 41 are in contact with the saffron camp’s central leadership.
The TMC was quick to hit back with party spokesperson Kunal Ghosh saying the BJP leader is himself involved in several issues. “He had joined the BJP to save himself from those matters,” Ghosh was quoted as saying in the Anandabazar report.