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'Defections won't have any impact on poll prospects'

Defections wont have any impact on poll prospects
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Kolkata: Senior Trinamool Congress leader Subrata Mukherjee reiterated on Sunday that party supremo Mamata Banerjee did not defect to another party but had left the Congress to set up a new party All India Trinamool Congress (AITMC) in 1998. He further asserted that defections will have no impact in the Assembly polls in the state and there is no need to raise a hue and cry about the same.

"Amit Shah (ji) had claimed at the rally at Midnapore on Saturday that Mamata Banerjee who was accusing people of defection had left the Congress for joining another party in 1998. He is distorting history by making such false statement. She (Mamata Banerjee) had left Congress and formed a new party named AITMC," Mukherjee who is also the state Panchayats and Rural Development minister said.

He maintained that defecation is not new and it happens across parties.

"Those who stab us from the back have no place in our party. Our party is neither shocked nor crestfallen and such desertions will have no impact on the Assembly polls which is likely to be held in April-May," he added.

Political heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari, along with one MP and five MLAs of the TMC, joined the BJP on Saturday during Home Minister Amit Shah's rally in Midnapore.

"We have a strong democracy in the state. The people of Bengal are perfectly capable of identifying and getting rid of traitors," Mukherjee maintained.

Rubbishing Shah's allegation that people in Bengal are being denied benefits under Ayushman Bharat (Central health scheme) he said Swasthya Sathi scheme had commenced in Bengal two years back under which 1.4 crore families have been provided health insurance benefits up to Rs 5 lakh per annum.

Taking a jibe at BJP national president J P Nadda over the attack on his cavalcade earlier in December, Mukherjee said: "A person of his stature should not spread false information. He has been given Z-category security but still broke protocols. Many unauthorised cars were seen joining his convoy during his visit to Diamond Harbour."

The senior TMC leader alleged that Shah was dishing out misinformation about construction of a farmer's house in Paschim Medinipur district.

"After having lunch at a farmer's residence, Shah said that the house was built entirely from the Prime Minister's housing project for the poor. The fact remains that the state and the Centre share the burden of this project.

Retorting strongly to Shah's claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has provided houses and infrastructure for the poor in Bengal, Mukherjee said the Centre pays 60 percent and the state pays 40 percent for such housing schemes.

"It is shameful to present facts suiting one's own interest. A total of 33.87 lakh housing units were built in the state since 2011 at a cost of Rs 39.993 crore, a large portion of which was borne by the state," he asserted.

Mukherjee came down heavily upon Shah for claiming that 300 BJP workers have been killed in the last 18 months. "Many BJP workers are getting killed due to infighting and even suicides are being passed off as political killings. Since 1998, as many as 1,027 TMC workers have been killed in political rivalry. 116 of BJP's sitting Lok Sabha MPs have criminal records," he said.

He also accused the saffron party of "belittling" Bengal's icons as outrage over flex hoardings with Shah's image on top of that of Rabindranath Tagore continued in Santiniketan, the bard's abode, where Shah visited on Sunday.

"Let the people of Bengal know that those who are ignorant of Rabindranath have come to occupy this state," he said.

Meanwhile, Derek O'Brien also issued a rebuttal to claims made by the Union Home minister in his speech in Midnapore on Saturday. "#FactCheck of the speech made in Bengal by the henchman of the "tourist gang"," O'Brien, Trinamool Congress' Rajya Sabha MP said in a Twitter post.

The reference to "tourist gang" can be traced back to Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's barbs against the BJP. In one of her speeches, the Trinamool Congress chief had referred to the BJP as "outsiders" and the party's leaders as "tourists" who visit the state only ahead of elections.

"7 pieces of concocted, false info in one speech. Actually, by his standards, quite low!" Derek went on to add.

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