Kolkata: Former Trinamool Congress leader and incumbent Bolpur MP Anupam Hazra, who is contesting the ongoing Lok Sabha election on a BJP ticket from Jadavpur, said on Tuesday that about five-seven TMC legislators were in touch with him and they would soon join the saffron camp.
This came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said 40 MLAs of the ruling party in Bengal were in contact with the saffron party and would desert the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress to switch over to the BJP after the Lok Sabha election results were declared May 23. Modi made the remark while campaigning in the Srerampur Lok Sabha constituency of the state.
“Those who are frustrated in the TMC are trying to come to the BJP. I have already created that platform where at least five-seven Trinamool MLAs will join the saffron camp soon. That is why Modiji in his meeting on Monday had quoted this particular figure of 40 MLAs will be switching to the BJP soon. Of these 40 MLAs, five to seven are my contribution and very soon, you will get to know who the MLAs are,” Hazra said while speaking to News 18.
He also indicated he was trying his best to facilitate the process. “Some MLAs are already frustrated with the party as there is no space to work. In that way, I am trying my best,” he said.
Hazra was expelled from the Trinamool in January this year for his alleged anti-party activities and joined the BJP in March just ahead of the announcement of candidates for the Lok Sabha election.
Soon after Modi’s comments, Banerjee hit out at Modi and wondered if the Prime Minister was here in the state to campaign for his party or engage in horse-trading.
Addressing a rally at Bhadreswar in Hooghly district, the Trinamool supremo said, “He is a shameless Prime Minister. He talks about buying 40 MLAs of the Trinamool. In my party, people are dedicated and ready to shed their blood. They cannot be bought with money power.”
She has also written to the Election Commission demanding that Modi’s candidature be cancelled.
“The Prime Minister’s nomination should be cancelled because he is violating the Constitution by trying to buy out people. People will give a befitting reply to the BJP through the power of their votes,” she added.
The fourth phase of the election on Monday saw violence in the state as clashes broke out between BJP and TMC workers in pockets of Asansol and Birbhum constituencies. While Trinamool Congress is trying to hold onto its turf, the BJP is on a mission to make further inroads into the state.
Meanwhile, Hazra paid a visit to Trinamool’s Birbhum district president Anubrata Mondal at his party office where the latter said he would speak to his party leader to secure a Rajya Sabha nomination for Hazra from the party.
Amid confusion and anger among BJP workers over the visit, Hazra clarified that Mondol was his neighbour in Bolpur and he had only dropped by as a courtesy to condole Mondal’s mother’s death. He was in Bolpur to cast his vote for the Lok Sabha election.
Hazra also slammed Mondal’s move to invite journalists at the venue and called it politically motivated.