West Bengal is all set for a power-packed political battle on Saturday as two senior leaders of Trinamool Congress and BJP hold massive rallies in each other’s bastions. While TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee will hold a public meeting at East Medinipur’s Kanthi, which is known to be a stronghold of opposition leader Suvendu Adhikari, the BJP leader will be taking his might to Banerjee’s Diamond Harbour.
Ahead of the panchayat elections, dates for which have not yet been notified, the ruling TMC has released a video in which Banerjee is heard challenging Adhikari – “Come if you have the guts. I am going to challenge you in your area, your locality.”
There has been no love lost between the two leaders and they have been pitched as arch rivals. Even when Adhikari was in the TMC, he was known to be “anti-Abhishek” and party insiders said when Abhishek gained more prominence after 2014, it was unacceptable for Adhikari and could essentially be the reason why he left the party to join the BJP. Once safely ensconced in the saffron party, Adhikari made Abhishek his most hit target while making political statements in public, they added.
Abhishek, too, has publicly called Adhikari a ‘gaddar’, or betrayer. Political analysts said since both the leaders passionately opposed each other, their public rallies on Saturday will be interesting.
Adhikari had moved the court against Abhishek’s rally stating that it was close to his residence, and there were chances that his family could be heckled by TMC supporters. The venue of the rally is 100 m from Adhikari’s residence but the court after hearing both sides allowed the meeting with restrictions on loudspeakers and conditions regarding trespass.
Adhikari’s meeting was initially to be held at Kulpi in South 24 Parganas but, according to the BJP, police did grant them permission and they had to move court once again. The court suggested the BJP should choose an alternative, following which the party decided that its venue should be Diamond Harbour’s lighthouse ground.
“Suvendu is afraid of Abhishek and that’s why all these court proceedings. The rally will take place according to the court order and lakhs will attend,” said Kunal Ghosh, West Bengal general secretary of the TMC.
Responding to this statement, BJP state vice-president Dilip Ghosh said, “They are just trying to show that they have people; all these people are forced to attend these rallies.”
The political tension between the two parties reached such a point that late on Friday, the BJP alleged that outsiders came and took away chairs from the meeting venue for Adhikari’s rally in Diamond Harbour.
Kunal Ghosh said the BJP was making false allegations as it was the decorators who had withdrawn from the event and it had nothing to do with the TMC.
Later in the night, Adhikari tweeted: “Even after Hon’ble Calcutta High Court allowed @BJP4Bengal rally at Diamond Harbour tomorrow, Koyla Bhaipo deployed his lumpens & servitors in uniform to disrupt the arrangements. The rally would be held at that same venue tomorrow. Bhaipo stop us if you can. Use all your might.”
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