West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday called Bharatiya Janata Party leader Suvendu Adhikari a “traitor”, News18 reported. Adhikari, who was a minister in the Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government, quit the party and joined BJP in December. Several other Trinamool leaders have since then joined the saffron party’s ranks.
Both Banerjee and Adhikari will be contesting against each other from the Nandigram constituency in the upcoming Assembly elections in the state. Voting for the 294-seat West Bengal Assembly will be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29. The results will be announced on May 2.
“I blindly supported him [Adhikari]...my care towards him was blind,” Banerjee said, at an election rally in Tamluk in East Midnapore district on Friday. “But now I will not tolerate it anymore. No place for a gaddar [traitor].”
The chief minister also accused Adhikari of staying in touch with the BJP since 2014, NDTV reported.
“I wouldn’t have been able to come here,” Banerjee said, according to the channel. “Today I am free to come anywhere in Midnapore. Earlier I used to ask [them] where I should go...I am sorry I trusted them.”
The chief minister reiterated her criticism of the BJP as a divisive force and said that it was important to unite against the party. She also said that the Assembly election results will decide the fate of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in 2024 Lok Sabha polls, News18 reported.
“You voted for BJP and they cheated you.... They gave you nothing,” Banerjee said. “We are giving you free ration and the BJP government at the Centre is increasing the price of LPG [gas cylinder]. They will retire if you help us in defeating them in this Assembly polls.”
Without naming the party directly, she also held the BJP responsible for her leg injury that she sustained in Nandigram last week. “I have injuries on every part of my body...Elections are near,” she said. “So they thought they will injure my legs.”