Bharatiya Janata Party leader Suvendu Adhikari, who recently switched over from the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, on Thursday expressed confidence that his move had the people’s approval, PTI reported.
Leading a roadshow in his hometown Kanthi, which is in East Midnapore district, Adhikari asserted that the BJP will win more than 200 seats in the Assembly elections in the state next year.
“She [Mamata Banerjee] will come second in the race,” Adhikari said, according to the Hindustan Times. “Is baar, do sau paar (this time, we will win more than 200 seats).”
He also attacked the Trinamool Congress for holding a rally in Kanthi a day before, on Wednesday, where party leaders had called Adhikari a traitor, reported the Hindustan Times. “The TMC need not hold rallies in my district to stop me from going elsewhere in Bengal,” Adhikari said. “The more they attack me the more will be the losses they suffer in East and West Midnapore districts.”
Criticising state minister Firhad Hakim, who addressed the TMC rally, Adhikari said that he had failed to manage the situation in Kolkata as its mayor after cyclone Amphan, and that the Army and disaster management teams from Odisha had to be called in to restore normalcy.
The former minister in the Mamata Banerjee-led Cabinet then went on to challenge the chief minister on a rally scheduled to take place on January 7 in Nandigram, the constituency Adhikari represented, till he resigned from the party, PTI reported. Adhikari was one of the mainstays of the protests against a land acquisition bid in 2007, by the then Left Front government in the state.
Adhikari claimed that he had been a saviour for the TMC in the past, by fighting against Left Front leaders Kiranmoy Nanda and Lakshman Seth in the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections, when no one else was willing to take on them in the ’90s and the early 2000s. He asserted that along with BJP state unit President Dilip Ghosh, he will ensure that the party wins all 35 seats in East and West Midnapore districts.
“Me and Dilip Ghosh of Gopiballavpur in Paschim Medinipur [West Midnapore] have united the sandy soil of the Bay of Bengal coast and the red soil of Jangalmahal and we will sleep only after the lotus blooms,” he said.
Adhikari joined the BJP during Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the state last week. Earlier, he resigned from all the positions he held in the Trinamool Congress on December 17. This came a day after he resigned as a member of the Legislative Assembly and almost 20 days after he resigned as West Bengal transport minister. He had quit from the post of chairperson of the Hooghly River Bridge Commissioners too.