Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh’s return to the Trinamool Congress from the Bharatiya Janata Party has sparked a buzz in political circles. After his ‘homecoming’, Singh spoke exclusively to News18 and attacked West Bengal BJP on a range of issues, while expressing willingness to take up any role that is offered to him by the TMC. Edited excerpts:
How are you feeling after this ‘ghar wapasi’?
Oh, it’s a great feeling. I was with TMC from the first day. It was three years of ‘banbas’ (exile) for me afterwards. A lot of senior people have been calling me since yesterday. So it’s a great feeling after coming back to my own place.
Is this over jute price only or something else? Were you planning to move back for the past few months?
I have shown and got the jute price ceiling removed. We always were under suspicion that we were outsiders, we came from the TMC. We were humiliated there by the BJP, but then also we stayed. Nobody speaks against Delhi but then also I spoke, I pressured them for jute. All demands were not satisfied, but I still tried. Both things were there. There were problems over jute price and suspicion. That’s why I left the party and came back to my home. I was not planning it but it was not possible to take the humiliation. They used to have separate meetings in the BJP. They never believed us.
You have said various critical things about Mamata Banerjee and Abhishek Banerjee too. How did it feel to take the flag from his hand? Has there been a war of words?
I have seen Abhishek for long. Yesterday also I saw him and he is politically very mature and the direction in which he wants to take the part is right. If the party goes on that path, good results will come.
Don’t you think that there was a lot of hatred and the old guard will not adjust with you?
Three years ago I said a lot of things but now if anything happens I will say it inside the party. There will be no violence. All are friends and we will stay together.
What’s wrong with Bengal BJP?
Bengal BJP does not brief national BJP the right way. They work for themselves, and if anybody fights and in a political fight if the workers face problems, then the party leaders do not stand by them. The money which is sent from Delhi is also misused. There is corruption with which normal workers are not happy. If a Cooch Behar person looks after Barrackpore then what will happen? BJP is run from AC offices. They are on Twitter, and Facebook but not on the ground to stand by their people. They have to go to court. They have to go to the people whose houses have been burnt. There are only leaders in the BJP; no one to stand with people on the ground. I can bring 100 workers of the BJP who will say that leaders don’t pick up the phone.
Suvendu Adhikari will now replace you. What do you have to say?
All the best. He is a good organiser; let’s see whether the BJP allows him or not. If the BJP allows it then competition will be good.
What role will the party give you? Have you spoken to Didi (Mamata)?
Whatever role will be given to me, I will take it up. It’s not even been 24 hours. Mamata Banerjee had a cabinet meeting. I will go and meet her if she gives me time. If the party gives me a role to talk to people who want to come to the TMC, I will do that. It’s my old home, I know everything about this party. I will have no problems.
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