As the state of West Bengal headed to the first phase of Assembly elections yesterday, TMC was jolted as the BJP released a call recording allegedly between West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and BJP District Vice President Pralay Pal where Banerjee purportedly could be heard asking Pal to return to Trinamool and help her win in Nandigram.
If the authenticity of the call recording is indeed true, Mamata Banerjee appears to have realised that she is staring at an imminent defeat in Nandigram which heads to polls on April 1 against Suvendu.
In the call recording, a voice similar to that of Mamata Banerjee can be heard as saying, “You are a young man, you do a lot of work, I know. Please help us out a bit here, you will see, you will not experience any difficulty.”
To this Pralay Pal, who is the BJP’s Tamluk organisation Vice-President responded, “My family engaged in politics because of you, didi. The day when election results were announced, when we realised that you will become the Chief Minister, we invited 5 Brahmins for pujo and organised a rally.”
He added, “But what hurts is, even after all such sacrifices, when Pralay Pal does not get receive a resident certificate, there is nothing more humiliating than that.”
In the audiotape, the voice which the BJP claims to be that of Mamata can be heard requesting Pal to help TMC win in Nandigram. “You should help us win Nandigram. Look, I know you have some grievances, but that’s due mostly to the Adhikaris who never allowed me to get into Nandigram or East Midnapore. I will take care of everything henceforth.”
It is pertinent to note that Pal was earlier associated with the Trinamool Congress before defecting to the BJP ahead of the Assembly elections, much before Suvendu Adhikari jumped ship to the saffron party.
In the audio clipping, Pal can be heard as saying, “I shouldn’t receive a resident certificate, can it happen? I have been beaten by your Mahadev.”
Politely refusing to help TMC win in Nandigram, Pal said, “Whatever you think, Didi, I have quit the party now (TMC), I will not be able to betray the trust of the party I am in now.”
Concluding the call Pal said, “I am extremely grateful to you. You are such a huge politician and despite that, you have called an ordinary worker like me. But forgive me.”
Pralay Pal, while speaking to India Today, pledged his loyalty to the BJP and the Adhikari clan as he reminisced how the Adhikari family helped him during the heydays of the Left rule in Bengal. “She wanted me to work for her and return to TMC but I have long been associated with Suvendu Adhikari and the Adhikari family. I am now working for the Bharatiya Janata Party,” said Pal while speaking to India Today,
He added, “During the Left rule when CPI(M) was torturing the people of Nandigram, it was the Adhikari family who stood by us. I have never gone against them and I will never dare to.”
In fact, Pal’s home in Birulia is being used as Suvendu Adhikari’s election office.
While the authenticity of the tape is yet to be verified, however, the fact that TMC leaders not only launched a meek defence but also claimed that they were proud that the Chief Minister herself is reaching to the workers points that there might be some truth in the audio clipping.
“(But) I am proud that my leader is Mamata Banerjee. If a dedicated party worker leaves the party, what is wrong in calling them in the first place?” questioned Bengal Minister Subrata Mukherjee. He added, “Even Indira Gandhi and Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi had called to persuade me.”
TMC State spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said, “There is a difference between dedicated party workers who leave and traitors. Even assuming that the clip is true, it speaks volumes about our party leader who is ready to reach out to workers who toil for the party. This is quite natural in politics.”
The recent happenings indicate that the BJP is all set to storm to power in West Bengal with Mamata Banerjee facing the humiliating prospect of losing from Nandigram and thereby failing to even become a Member of the Legislative Assembly.