Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday challenged Union Home Minister and BJP leader Amit Shah to contest against her nephew Abhishek Banerjee first and then her, in the upcoming assembly election in the state, scheduled to be held later this year.
The Home Minister was in the state today, holding roadshows, as part of BJP's Poribortan Yatra, to further boost the presence of the saffron party in Bengal, ahead of the elections. Amit Shah held rallies in South 24 Parganas, other places in West Bengal, and launched an all-out attack at the Mamata-led TMC government.
Shah said that the TMC government has introduced a "cut-money" culture in West Bengal, adding that his party's fight is to end it and take the state to the path of development.
"BJP's 'Parivartan Yatra' is not for changing a chief minister, an MLA or a minister but ending infiltration and transforming West Bengal into a developed state," Shah added.
In a bid to woo women-voters in poll-bound West Bengal, Amit Shah announced 33 per cent reservation for women in government jobs if the party is voted to power.
Shah made the announcement while addressing a huge crowd of supporters in Namkhana village of the South 24 Parganas district and kicking off the fifth and final phase of "Poribortan Yatraa in Bengal. "If we come to power we will provide 33 per cent reservation for women in the government jobs," the Home Minister said.
This wasn't the only sop that Shah promised at the public meeting. He also said in case the BJP comes to power, it will works towards implementing the Seventh Pay Commission.
Shah said the economy of the state is in such a precarious position that the Seventh Pay Commission is not given to employees of the state government.
Hitting back at Amit Shah, Mamata Banerjee said, "TMC will break all records, get most of the votes and win the highest number of seats in Bengal polls."
Responding to BJP's 'Bhaipo' jibe, Mamata said, "Abhishek Banerjee is an elected representative of the people, I challenge Amit Shah to get his son into politics."
Abhishek's authoritarian approach did antagonise former Trinamool Lok Sabha MP and West Bengal minister Suvendu Adhikari, Soumitra Khan, Anupam Hazra (all are now with the BJP in Bengal) and many others, especially the young Turks. There were dissenting notes coming out from within the party. It had sent a wrong signal to the people at the grassroots level where Trinamool Congress was viewed as a proletarian political force, after the outgoing Left Front.
Adhikari's recent statement after he joined the BJP last week re-established the cold resentment over Abhishek's phenomenal rise in the Trinamool Congress.
"Now I say 'tolabaaj bhaipo hatao' (get rid of your extortionist nephew)," Adhikari had said at the BJP's mega public rally in West Midnapore's college ground. Suvendu Adhikari joined the saffron in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
As many as seven sitting legislators of the Trinamool Congress, including one of Banerjee's former trusted aides Suvendu Adhikari, and three others from the Left Front and the Congress had also joined the BJP.
(With inputs from PTI, IANS)