Mamata challenges Shah to fight Abhishek first, then her
Pailan: Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo Mamata Banerjee, addressing a mammoth rally in South 24-Parganas on Thursday, hit out at Union Home minister Amit Shah's 'Didi-Bhaipo' jibes and dared him to first contest and defeat Abhishek, and then think of defeating her.
Banerjee also said that the electoral battle in 2021 is between her and the saffron party. "It's a fight between me and the BJP. Forget who the candidate is, remember my name and cast your vote in favour of TMC," she said.
Reiterating that her party would get more seats than the 2016 polls, Banerjee — amid loud cheers from supporters — said: "Day and night they are talking about Didi-Bhatija. I challenge Amit Shah, contest against Abhishek Banerjee first and then me."
Rebutting Amit Shah's statement that Banerjee does not allow Saraswati Puja and Durga Puja to take place in Bengal, the TMC chief stated: "I have never seen such a liar in my life. If Durga Puja did not take place in Bengal, then how come 28,000 clubs were given Rs 50,000 each to organise the Puja in 2020. Did we not celebrate Vasant Panchami? Can you even chant the mantra of Maa Saraswati? I really do not know from where these people get such information."
Banerjee further said: "Their leaders don't know who Goddess Durga is. Will they teach us Hinduism? Are we not Hindus?" Earlier, TMC leaders had alleged that BJP state chief Dilip Ghosh had insulted Goddess Durga during a conclave hosted by a news channel.
Demolishing allegations of dynasty politics — often raised by the BJP leaders — Banerjee addressing the gathering stated that despite being her nephew, Abhishek was never offered special treatment within the party. Moreover, Banerjee insisted that the Diamond Harbour MP took the path less trodden — unlike the privileged sons and daughters of BJP leaders — and contested the polls to get elected to the lower house by the people of his constituency.
For the first time, Banerjee revealed in public why she encouraged Abhishek to join politics. "When I was beaten up by CPI (M) goons in 1993, Abhishek was a kid. When he heard about the assault from his mother, he held a Congress flag and started shouting slogans as to why the CPI (M) attacked Didi," Banerjee recalled. This incident made Banerjee realise about Abhishek's inclination towards politics.
"It wasn't difficult for me to send Abhishek to Rajya Sabha. But, he preferred to contest polls. He is not the deputy CM," Banerjee said, adding how she feels bad when saffron leaders attack Abhishek.
Banerjee highlighted how the children of saffron party leaders preferred staying abroad instead of working for people of the country. She also challenged the Home minister to get his son into politics and toil hard to hold public offices.
"He (Shah) never speaks about how his son has bagged the post of BCCI Secretary and amassed wealth. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others. Don't play with fire. Your son is my 'bhatija' and I know many things about him," Banerjee added.
Refuting the allegation made by Amit Shah during his speech at Namkhana that a probe would be conducted into the graft involving the disbursal of Amphan fund, she said: "Where was he when we saved the lives of 10 lakh people. The Prime Minister came and Rs 1000 crore was released. It was our money and the Centre gave the amount in advance. We did not receive any package from the Centre."
Launching a scathing attack on Shah, who said no development has taken place in Sagar Island, she said: "Does he know the condition of Sagar before Trinamool came to power? We have developed the area and removed the negative tag attached to the island that you can go to pilgrimage at different places but you can visit the Island only once in your life because of its invincibility."
Banerjee urged people not to vote for those who have come "to loot Bengal". "Don't allow the outsiders to come to your area and urged women to come out and drive them out. Pull them by their ears. They will not be able to share their experience in shame," she said.
Banerjee urged the people to ensure that TMC gets all the 31 seats in South 24-Parganas.
Meanwhile, the chief minister called on the state governor on her way back from Pailan.