This Article is From Jan 31, 2021

"Will Be Left All Alone": Amit Shah Slams Mamata Banerjee Ahead Of Polls

Mr Shah's swipe comes a day after he personally welcomed five former members of the Chief Minister's Trinamool into the BJP

Home Minister Amit Shah addressed a rally in Bengal's Howrah district via video conference

New Delhi:

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee "will be left all alone" to face the Assembly election - due in a few weeks - Home Minister Amit Shah said Sunday afternoon as he addressed - via video-conferencing - a rally in Howrah district.

Mr Shah's swipe comes a day after he personally welcomed five former members of the Trinamool into the BJP, to continue a flood of defections from the ruling party that began with ex-Nandigram MLA and cabinet minister Suvendu Adhikari.

"Mamata Banerjee should reflect on why so many Trinamool Congress leaders are joining the BJP. It is because she has failed the people of the state. By the time elections arrive, she will be left all alone," the Home Minister was quoted by news agency PTI.

Mr Shah's swipe was a repeat of his taunt from mid-December, when he welcomed Mr Adhikari - widely seen as instrumental in Ms Banerjee's rise to power - to the party.

"Why are so many people leaving... Because of misrule, corruption and nepotism.. Didi (Ms Banerjee), this is just the beginning. By the time elections come, you will be all alone," he had said.

The BJP, which has never been in power in Bengal, has made no secret of its strategy - to poach as many leaders as possible from the ruling Trinamool.

The party has set itself a target of winning 200 of 294 seats.

So far Ms Banerjee's Trinamool has lost several big names to its rival, including Mr Adhikari and former Forest Minister Rajib Banerjee, who was among the five flown to Delhi yesterday.

Apart from those two, several MLAs and leaders from the Trinamool, the Left and the Congress have jumped ship to the BJP in recent days and weeks.

The BJP has repeatedly attacked Ms Banerjee over allegations she favours her nephew - Lok Sabha MP Abhishek Banerjee - over senior party leaders - an allegation levelled by Mr Adhikari in his final days as a Trinamool member, and repeated by Mr Shah today.

"... the Mamata Banerjee government is working towards 'bhatija kalyan (serving her nephew)'... (but) I want to make it clear that if the BJP comes to power, the Modi government will work toward 'jan kalyan (serving the people)'," Mr Shah said.

Amit Shah was due to address today's rally in person as part of a two-day visit to the state.

However, he cancelled his plans on Friday; source said this was because of a low-intensity blast near the Israel embassy in Delhi earlier that day. Union Minister Smriti Irani filled him for in at the rally.

Ms Irani doubled down on the BJP's allegations of corruption and claimed the state had "looted" rice and dal set aside by the centre for those affected by the Covid lockdown. She also hit out at the state for failing to create jobs for lakhs of migrant workers who returned in the early days of the lockdown.

With input from PTI