Abhishek Banerjee holds first rally in Tripura; BJP leader returns to TMC

The TMC leader, who is the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, also welcomed back into the party fold BJP leader Rajib Banerjee at the Agartala rally.

TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee held his first rally in Tripura on Sunday, appealing people to renounce the “misrule” of the BJP in the state, and urging  them to vote for the TMC in the upcoming civic polls in November and the Assembly elections in 2023.

The TMC leader, who is the nephew of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, also welcomed back into the party fold BJP leader Rajib Banerjee at the Agartala rally.

Addressing the rally, Rajib – a former minister in the Mamata Banerjee government – said he “repents” joining the BJP ahead of assembly elections in West Bengal earlier this year. Rajib unsuccessfully fought the Bengal election from Domjur in Howrah district. “I realised that I cannot accept the politics of hatred and divisive ideology propagated by BJP. I cannot accept the anti-people policies of the BJP,” he said.

Rajib is the latest in a series of TMC-turned-BJP leaders who have returned to the Mamata Banerjee-led party in recent weeks.

“I was wrong in calling for double engine government of the BJP. I am repenting, I am ashamed… They (BJP) showed rosy picture from all sides about development…” Rajib said. Apart from Rajib, Tripura BJP MLA Ashish Das too joined the Trinamool Congress at the rally.

Abhishek Banerjee’s rally in Agartala was held on Sunday as part of efforts by the Trinamool Congress to make inroads into the state, which votes for the Assembly elections in 2023.

The rally, where up to 500 people were permitted, was allowed by the Tripura High Court late on Saturday night, just hours after the state police withdrew its permission earlier granted to the party. Abhishek Banerjee, a TMC general secretary, was declined permission three times to hold a rally in Agartala earlier in September. The government had cited Covid-19 concerns as the reason for denial of permit.

Abhishek accused the Biplab Deb-led government of hooliganism and corruption, and said  TMC chief Mamata Banerjee had proven to be the only successful contender who could fight the BJP. He was referring to the TMC’s sweeping victory over the BJP in the Bengal assembly elections in March-April this year.

BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya said Chief Minister Biplab Deb has proven himself to the people of Tripura.

West Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar said TMC candidate’s will lose their deposits in the 2023 Tripura Assembly polls. BJP national vice-president Dilip Ghosh claimed that the TMC took leaders and workers from Bengal to the northeast state to show its strength.

“They took their party workers from Bengal to Tripura in buses to show their strength. Even leaders from Bengal are being taken there,” said Ghosh, referring to Rajib’s return to the TMC.

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