First fight Abhishek, then me: Mamata challenges Amit Shah

·4-min read

(Eds: Adding inputs, CM's reax on Unnao incident) Pailan (WB), Feb 18 (PTI) Hitting out at Union Home Minister Amit Shah's 'Didi-Bhaipo' jibes, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday challenged him to contest an election against her nephew Abhishek Banerjee and then think of fighting her.

Addressing a party rally in Pailan in the South 24 Parganas district, Banerjee said that Abhishek could have taken the easy route of being an MP by choosing to be a Rajya Sabha member but he fought the Lok Sabha election and got the people's mandate.

'Day and night they are talking about Didi-Bhatija. I challenge Amit Shah, contest against Abhishek Banerjee first and then me,' she said, amid a loud cheer from supporters.

Banerjee said that she has neither made Abhishek the deputy chief minister nor the chief minister and he is just an elected MP.

'My family will not do anything which will bring disrepute to you,' Banerjee told the TMC workers, claiming that she feels anguished that the BJP has been making accusations against Abhishek for being her nephew.

BJP leaders, including Shah, have often accused Banerjee of dynasty politics, alleging that her 'Bhaipo' or nephew has received preferential treatment and will eventually be made the chief minister of the state.

'How come your son became a part of the cricket administration and made hundreds of crores of rupees?' Banerjee said, in a direct attack at Shah.

She also challenged the home minister to get him into politics.

'I challenge Amit Shah, get your son into politics and ask him to toil hard to rise through the ranks,' she said.

Banerjee exuded confidence that her party will break all records of past elections in the state, get most of the votes and win the highest number of seats in the upcoming polls.

'Amit Shah should know that in 2021, we will break all records and will get the highest votes and win the most seats,' she asserted.

The TMC supremo, questioning Shah's observation that the Gangasagar mela site at Sagar islands in the district was not in good shape, said, 'I have not seen any home minister of the country speaking this much falsities.' Shah was also in the district during the day for a host of political programmes, including a rally and a roadshow in Kakdwip -- around 65 km from Pailan where the chief minister was addressing TMC's booth-level workers in the evening.

Banerjee alleged that attempts were being made to threaten people and coerce them to vote for the BJP with the help of the central police forces.

'Remember, central police will be here for a month after that it will be Didi's government. So, don't worry and whenever they try to threaten, the women of the house should go out and guard the family with 'khunti' (cooking spoon),' she said.

Banerjee also criticised the BJP, alleging that it was spreading lies over different Hindu festivals in Bengal, including the Saraswati Puja and Durga Puja.

'Do they know the shlokas of Saraswati Puja? They should first know the shlokas,' Banerjee said, reciting the shlokas from the stage.

'They don't know about Maa Durga. One of their leaders recently said who was Maa Durga. They don't know Maa Durga and are fighting elections in Bengal. Only big talks about Hinduism, as if we don't know anything,' she said, asking the Hindus in the crowd to raise hands.

Banerjee said that if her government has problems with Durga Puja, then how did 28,000 clubs get Rs 50,000 each.

Slamming the BJP over its allegations that the TMC misappropriated Amphan relief money, she said that the party has saved the lives of 10 lakh people during the supercyclone.

Banerjee termed the BJP's ongoing rath yatra programme in Bengal a flop, claiming that the party is bringing thousands of people from outside the state for the elections.

The chief minister said that there has been a horrific incident against three girls in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao, but the home minister did not bother to speak about it.

Two teenage girls were found dead and another in an unconscious state in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh after they went missing on Wednesday evening.

Maintaining that state minister Jakir Hossain, who was seriously injured in a blast on Wednesday night at Nimtita railway station, is a very popular leader in Murshidabad, she said that an SIT (special investigation team) formed by her will investigate why there was no light at the station and why no security arrangement was made for him by the railway authorities.

'I feel they are going to start elections from Murshidabad, Malda or Kolkata and the target was to kill him,' she alleged.

Banerjee claimed that the BJP will lose Uttar Pradesh in the near future and also be defeated in Tripura.

'People could not find an alternative in Assam otherwise they would have lost there too,' she said.

Assam is likely to go to the polls along with West Bengal. PTI AMR SOM SOM