Suvendu Adhikari, the veteran Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader who recently switched over to the BJP, has accepted the challenge thrown by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to contest from his Nandigram assembly seat, asserting that he will defeat her in the election or quit politics.
The TMC turncoat, however, said the final decision to field candidates will be taken by the BJP leadership after thorough discussion and not in an arbitrary way like it happens in the ruling TMC.
Ms Banerjee sprang a surprise earlier in the day when she declared she will contest the assembly election from Nandigram, the seat held by political heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari.
"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.
Unlike TMC, which is run "autocratically" by Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek, BJP decides on candidates after discussion and it is the party that will take a call on his candidature, Suvendu Adhikari said.
"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.
স্বাগতম দিদি। ২১ বছর সঙ্গে ছিলাম। এবার নন্দীগ্রামে সামনা-সামনি দেখা হবে।— Suvendu Adhikari • শুভেন্দু অধিকারী (@SuvenduWB) January 18, 2021
Welcome Didi! For 21 yrs I was by ur side. Now I look forward to the face-to-face fight in #Nandigram!
स्वागतम् दीदी। २१ साल आपके साथ खड़ा था। इस बार नंदीग्राम में आमने-सामने मुलाक़ात होगी। इंतज़ार रहेगा।
He alleged that Mamata Banerjee only remembers Nandigram before elections, and accused her of giving extension four times to an IPS officer involved in the Nandigram firing.
Ms Banerjee, the leader alleged, was playing with the sentiments of the people of Nandigram. "That will not work this time and her party will be democratically dumped into the Bay of Bengal."
Mr Adhikari also claimed not more than 30,000 people, mostly brought from other places, attended Mamata Banerjee's meeting at Tekhali in Nandigram today.