BJP MP Locket Chatterjee on Monday dismissed rumours that suggested she was deliberately staying away from campaigning in Bhawanipur, where bypolls are due on September 30. Chatterjee said she is focusing on Uttarakhand as she is the party’s election in-charge of the state, news agency ANI reported. “I’m focusing on Uttarakhand as BJP’s election in-charge. There are star campaigners like Dilip Ghosh and Suvendu Adhikari for Bhawanipur by-polls. This election is doubtful for Mamata Banerjee. This is why this fake news is surfacing,” she said.
Bengal BJP chief Sukanta Majumdar echoed similar claims, saying that Chatterjee was busy with her duties in Uttarakhand, which goes to polls next year. The BJP MP from Hooghly was made the co-in-charge of the hill state earlier this month.
Earlier in the day, Trinamool Congress spokesperson Kunal Ghosh had thanked Chatterjee on Twitter for not campaigning in Bhawanipur. Ghosh wrote: “Thanks and congrats ‘star campaigner’ @me_locket for not campaigning at Bhabanipur. Inspite of many requests from BJP U hvn’t (haven’t) come. As a friend wish your success wherever u r (You are). World is too small. Hope those days will return again when u (you) started your political innings.”
Chatterjee, however, retorted saying: “You should focus on ensuring that Mamata Banerjee doesn’t lose from Bhawanipur.”
The issue didn’t end there and Ghosh retweeted: “Don’t worry. Mamatadi will win by a large margin. U (You) want this also. I know that u hv (You have) to write in favour of yr (your) party. But still, I thank u (you) that even in this reply also u didn’t mention the name of the BJP candidate”. He also quoted a Hindi film song “Kahi pe nigahen/Kahi pe nishana…”, providing further fodder to the speculation.
Rumours of Chatterjee joining the TMC started swirling after state Transport Minister Firhad Hakim, three days ago, hinted that a “big leader from BJP” is set to join the Trinamool in a few days and also claimed that the saffron party will disintegrate in the state. Though Hakim didn’t mention any name, the tweet from Ghosh on Monday escalated the possibility further.
In Bhawanipur, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will contest against BJP’s Priyanka Tibrewal, a 41-year-old lawyer at the Calcutta High Court. Banerjee had lost from Nandigram against her once trusted lieutenant Suvendu Adhikari, who switched sides ahead of the assembly elections held in April-May this year.
(With IANS inputs)