Accepting the challenge thrown by West Bengal Chief Mamata Banerjee to contest from his Nandigram assembly seat, BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari on Monday said he will defeat her by a margin of at least 50,000 votes or quit politics.
Banerjee on Monday sprang in a surprise as she announced her candidature in the upcoming assembly election from Nandigram, as she took her battle for West Bengal to the home turf of BJP heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari.
Addressing a rally, Banerjee said she was not worried about those joining rival parties as they were hardly around when the TMC was formed. She said these leaders left the ruling party to protect the money "they have looted" in the last few years.
"I have always started my campaign for the assembly polls from Nandigram. It is a lucky place for me. So this time I feel that I should contest the assembly polls from here. I request our state party president Subrata Bakshi to approve my name from this seat," Banerjee said. Bakshi, who was on the podium, swiftly accepted the request.
"If I am fielded by my party from Nandigram, I will defeat her by a margin of at least 50,000 votes or I will quit politics," he asserted. Adhikari, however, said unlike the TMC, which is run "autocratically" by Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek, in BJP the candidates are decided after discussion and it was for the party to take a call on his candidature.
"I don't know from where I will be fielded, whether I will be fielded," he said, addressing BJP workers after a three-km road show.
He said Banerjee remembers Nandigram only before elections, and accused her of giving extension four times to an IPS officer involved in the Nandigram firing. Banerjee, Adhikari alleged, was playing with thesentiments of the people of Nandigram. "That will not work this time and her party will be democratically dumped into the Bay of Bengal." Adhikari claimed not more than 30,000 people, mostly brought from other places, attended Banerjee's meeting at Tekhali in Nandigram on Monday. (With PTI inputs)