Senior Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee on Saturday held a roadshow at Ghatal in Purba Medinipur district, considered a stronghold of turncoat Suvendu Adhikari, and said that his spine is not for sale like “some other people”.
Mr Adhikari, once considered a close aide of Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee, joined the BJP in December last year.
Without naming Mr Adhikari, Mr Banerjee described him as a betrayer who “brought disgrace” to Medinipur, the birthplace of freedom fighters like Khudiram Bose and Matangini Hazra.
“You cannot scare me by using the CBI and the ED. I will continue to speak out against injustice and the hate politics of the BJP. My spine is not for sale like some other people who had crossed over to save skin, to stop raids,” the Diamond Harbour MP said.
A CBI team on February 23 visited the residence of the TMC youth wing president and examined his wife Rujira in connection with a coal pilferage case. The agency also examined Rujira’s sister Menaka Gambhir on the previous day on the same matter.
“Shouldn’t people reject those who consider Medinipur (district) and its different areas as their fiefdom? Shouldn’t people teach those who have brought disgrace to the holy land of Matangini Hazra and Khudiram Bose and other luminaries by their act of betrayal a lesson?” he asked.
While Khudiram Bose was hanged in 1908 at the age of 18, 72-year-old Hazra was shot dead by the police at Tamluk in undivided Medinipur district in 1942.
Mr Banerjee said, “Medinipur is not someone’s ancestral property. Medinipur belongs to its people. Haldia, Ghatal, Nandigram, Khejuri and all the places in Purba and Paschim Medinipur districts belong to the people of the areas, not some individuals.”
Mr Adhikari was known as the face of the anti- land acquisition movement in Nandigram during the Left Front rule.
The Adhikari family holds sway in a number of assembly seats in several south Bengal districts including two Medinipurs.
Outsiders visiting the district and the state to seek votes will be driven away by voters, the chief minister’s nephew said.
“They are holding elections in two phases in both Paschim Medinipur and Purba Medinipur. Is it to benefit someone? You are thinking polling will be conducted by outsiders and central forces. Rest assured that all your candidates will forfeit their deposits even if voting takes place in 31 phases for 31 seats,” he said.
There are 15 assembly seats in Purba Medinipur district and 16 in Paschim Medinipur.
Elections to the West Bengal assembly will be held in eight phases. The first and last phase of polling will be held on March 27 and April 29 respectively. Votes will be counted on May 2.
Wondering how the BJP brands leaders of the ruling party of West Bengal as pro-Bangladesh for chanting “Jai Bangla,” Mr Banerjee said, “Even if you cut my throat I will keep chanting Jai Hind, Jai Bangla. I love my country, my state. You cannot muzzle my voice.”
“Jai Bangla” was a popular slogan during the Bangladesh liberation war.
Those opposing such slogans have no connection with the roots, with the ethos of Bengal, the TMC leader said at the end of the roadshow.
Standing atop a blue truck with ”Didir Doot” (Emissary of Didi) written on it, Mr Banerjee held the roadshow from Daspur to Ghatal town, covering a distance of over 4 km.