- Banerjee stressed that if Bengal can defeat BJP, so can Uttar Pradesh
- She egged on the people to defeat the BJP without paying heed to the caste equation
- Banerjee will visit Varanasi to address a meeting on March 3
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that like West Bengal Assembly polls Uttar Pradesh will see a one-on-one fight between the BJP and the Samajwadi Party with Akhilesh Yadav emerging victorious. At a joint press conference with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, Banerjee tweaked the "khela hobe' campaign anthem of her party for last year's Assembly polls to 'Khela Hoga' (the game is on) and stressed that if "Bengal can do it (defeat BJP), so can Uttar Pradesh".
Asked if she has plans of contesting the 2024 general elections from Uttar Pradesh, the West Bengal chief minister replied that she would talk to Akhilesh Yadav about it. She, however, evaded questions on whether she will be the prime ministerial face in the 2024 elections. About the Uttar Pradesh election, Banerjee, who defeated the BJP in the high-octane assembly polls in her state last year, said, "If Yogi (Adityanath) Ji comes to power, he will eat you up politically as well as economically."
"He does not know anything and hence he is going (away). Let him go. A person, who wants to go should be allowed to go." She egged on the people to defeat the BJP without paying heed to the caste equation. "I understand elections. I have been a seven-time MP and three-time chief minister. I also know India. This time, division of votes is not going to happen in Uttar Pradesh.
"The BJP had tried it pretty hard in Bengal but it boiled down to one-on-one (contest between the TMC and BJP). Here also, it is going to be a head-on fight, and Akhilesh Ji is going to emerge victorious. The SP will win and it will be history," Banerjee said. She also said that every caste is a "pride" for her and that her heart cries for the poor.
"If you remove BJP from the state, we will remove them from the country. This is our promise. This time Akhilesh Yadav will win more than 300 seats. All the regional parties will unitedly remove the BJP from Delhi and this is our promise," Banerjee said. She said that Akhilesh Yadav has enough strength to fight the BJP, but added that in a war everybody must be taken along.
Asked to comment on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's comments in Parliament on Tuesday that if there was no Congress, there would have been no Emergency in the country, Banerjee said, "This has become the super-grandfather of Emergency." On whether she will appeal to the Bengali-speaking population in the state to vote for the Samajwadi Party chief, she replied, "Akhilesh (Yadav) will get the support."
"There will be 'Khela Hobe', and he will win. In Bengal, the BJP has been kicked out of the field. Here too they will be sent out. Akhilesh (Yadav) is not alone, the public is with him." She mocked the BJP's 'Sankalp Patra' for the 2022 Assembly polls, saying, "Whether it is a manifesto or 'money-festo', I don't know. The BJP has become a 'khatra' (danger) party."
To a question on whether she will campaign in Gorakhpur against Yogi Adityanath), the TMC supremo said that she will visit Varanasi and also address a meeting there on March 3. The Trinamool Congress has not fielded any candidate in Uttar Pradesh and is supporting the Samajwadi Party in the high-octane battle in the politically crucial state.
During the West Bengal Assembly elections in 2021, the SP had extended its support to the Mamata Banerjee-led party. Yadav shares a very cordial relationship with Mamata Banerjee and had even attended the grand opposition meeting hosted by the TMC supremo in January 2019. On his part, Akhilesh Yadav termed the BJP's allegation that 'jungle raj' would return in Uttar Pradesh in the SP makes a comeback a "propaganda".
Banerjee expressed her fondness for Mathura's famous 'pedaa' and that Uttar Pradesh and Bengal "share the common bond of Ganga, heart and culture". Hitting out at the Centre over the Covid vaccination, she said, "They (BJP) said that Covid jabs were given by them. Where did the money come from? They are playing politics with public money."
In a veiled dig at BSP chief Mayawati, the Banerjee said, "I would like to tell the Dalit brothers and sisters that your leader does not work and she has surrendered before the BJP. They (BJP) went to Bengal and said that Mamata does not worship Goddess Durga. But, they got a slap on their face. UNESCO gave heritage status to Bengal's Durga Puja. The BJP-led government repealed the three farm laws keeping an eye on the Assembly polls in the fice state and those might be brought back after the elections get over, she alleged.