Lok Sabha elections 2019: Soumitra Khan targets Mamata Banerjee day after joining BJP, says TMC a party of ‘aunt’ and ‘nephew’

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New Delhi | Updated: Jan 11, 2019 1:27 PM

In an exclusive interview to Financial Express Online, Soumitra Khan said that several TMC leaders want to join BJP and are in touch with him. Asserting that democracy has failed in West Bengal and Police Raj prevails, Khan urged the common people to vote for BJP in the upcoming election.

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In a major blow for Trinamool Congress, Soumitra Khan, a sitting Lok Sabha MP from Bankura’s Bishnupur constituency, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday. Lashing out at the TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee, Khan on Thursday alleged that no TMC leader has any importance in the party and that it become a party of ‘Pisi’ and ‘Bhaipo’ (aunt and nephew in a reference to Mamata and Abhishek).

In an exclusive interview to Financial Express Online, Soumitra Khan said that several TMC leaders want to join BJP and are in touch with him. Asserting that democracy has failed in West Bengal and Police Raj prevails, Khan urged the common people to vote for BJP in the upcoming election. Edited Excerpts from the interaction:

Why did you resign from the Trinamool Congress? What angered you so much?

Trinamool Congress is a party of ‘Pisi’ and ‘Bhaipo’ (aunt and nephew). The entire party is functioning like King Nero. There is no democracy within the party. And I can’t work with the party which has no democracy. I support Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’. The political violence in the state has intensified in recent years. Being a youth leader, I could not accept the way TMC functions and hence, I decided to resign.

READ ALSO | Lok Sabha elections 2019: BJP says Soumitra Khan’s exit has signalled that TMC is breaking, more MPs may jump ship

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, you wrote that you have been threatened by the police. Why?

Yes, I have been threatened by the local police. A senior police officer Sukomol Das, who is currently serving as an SDPO of Bishnupur has filed a false case against me. The ruling party has directed both the administration and police to lodge a false case so that they can put me behind bars. Being an MP, I am also the people’s representative. How can I tolerate all these activities? Gopi, a boy known to me, was arrested and now he is behind bars under ‘Arms Act’. I am very much grateful to PM Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Dilip Ghosh, Mukul Roy and others that they have accepted my request to join the saffron party.

READ ALSO | Lok Sabha elections 2019: CPI(M) rules out pre-poll alliance of opposition parties, says third front a BJP-sponsored idea

Police have threatened you. So why not you are moving court?

I respect the Constitution of India, but West Bengal police does not follow it. They will arrest me the moment I reach the state. Whoever opposes the decisions of ‘ Pisi’ and ‘Bhaipo’, they are either arrested or have false cases registered against them. Therefore, I thought I’ll expose the party in front of the public. I will seek bail from High Court before moving to West Bengal. Let them do whatever they want.

West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh and newly joined former TMC MP Soumitra Khan (Image source: Anish Mondal)

You stayed with the TMC for the last five years. Why did you choose this as the time for your resignation?

We all have to take certain steps depending on the right time and moment. So, I have waited and took time to announce my resignation. I asked the BJP for my induction to the party and they accepted my request.

Within an hour of your joining the Bharatiya Janata Party, your personal assistant was arrested by the West Bengal police. What do you say?

In a bid to take revenge, Dan was arrested on the directions of Abhishek Bandyopadhyay, because he didn’t like me. Both ‘ Pisi’ and ‘ Bhaipo’ harass the people whom they don’t like.

Is there any internal conflict going on within the Trinamool Congress?

Yes, there are many party leaders who are not satisfied with the duo (Mamata Banerjee and Abhishek Banerjee). There are many leaders including MLAs and MPs who have contacted me or are in touch with me and ready to join the BJP. But I don’t want to reveal their names at this hour. Anupam Hazra, who is also a good friend of mine, is in touch with me.

READ ALSO | Lok Sabha elections 2019: Mamata Banerjee to spell out party strategy at mega opposition rally on January 19

On what issues will your focus be after joining BJP?

At present, I am focussed on defeating Mamata Banerjee and Abhishek Banerjee and to end the misrule of TMC-led state government. I give an open challenge to Abhishek Banerjee to contest election against me from any seat of Bankura and Purulia. If he has the courage, the TMC should ask him to stand against me. I will defeat him by more than two lakh votes.

What is the current political scenario in West Bengal?

The people have pinned hopes on BJP, they are fed up with the TMC government. There is a 100 per cent chance that BJP will win 25 seats out of 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

Mamata Banerjee is trying to give a shape to an anti-BJP platform at January 19, 2019, Brigade rally. Do you think it will damage BJP?

This is a drama. The people who attend Mamata’s rallies are paid to do so. Because, there are no jobs anywhere in the state and with the hope of earning some money, people participate in her political rallies.

What message do you want to send for the common people of West Bengal?

My message to common people is that there is no democracy in West Bengal. There is no development. The state suffers from basic facilities like employment, infrastructure, industry etc. There is no peace and freedom. So, I am urging the people to dislodge the TMC government and vote for BJP.

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