Had to follow BJP ‘community line’, support ‘hate speech’: Supriyo

Trinamool Congress (TMC) candidate from Kolkata’s Ballygunge Assembly constituency and former Union Minister Babul Supriyo on Tuesday expressed concern that his former party, the BJP, is using central agencies like the CBI and the ED against him before April 12. bypolls.

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Interacting with reporters, Supriyo said he had to toe the BJP’s “communal line” when he was its MP and was then also forced to support the “hate speech” of BJP leaders.

“I have a blank ballot. As a minister, I entered (Parliament) wearing a white shirt and I left with the same shirt. The BJP could not maintain its “Na khaunga, na khane dunga” policy. Now they will surely use CBI and ED against me. I have learned that Suvendu Adhikari (Opposition Leader in West Bengal Assembly) is pleading with Union Home Minister Amit Shah to immediately use ED and CBI against me to defeat me in the election,” Supriyo alleged.

In September last year, Supriyo left the BJP and joined the TMC, two months after he was sacked from Narendra Modi’s ministry as part of his major reshuffle. Subsequently, he also resigned as a Saffron Party MP from Asansol from where he won the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

TMC Supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee nominated Supriyo as the party’s candidate for the Ballygunge seat, which had become vacant after veteran party leader Subrata Mukherjee passed away.

Supporting renowned actor Naseeruddin Shah for backing his niece and CPM candidate from Ballygunge, Saira Shah Halim, Supriyo said: “It is acceptable for an uncle to support his niece in an election battle. But he used a strong word or two against me. It is not for an artist of his stature to fish in troubled waters. He is hypocritical in saying that he is sending a personal message when in reality he is sending a political message. I would also like to remind him that I am not a “dalbadlu”. I had left politics and also resigned as an MP. It was the magnanimity of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that gave me this opportunity to work for the people again upon seeing my previous ballot as an MP.

In a video message to Ballygunge voters on social media, Shah said: “The choice for voters is clear. Would you like your rep to be a caring, compassionate, and committed person who will work for you, or would you prefer a renegade opportunist who is also a serial hatemonger? »

Referring to the leftist local workers’ ‘No Vote for Babul’ campaign, Supriyo said, “It would have no impact on the elections. But I have a past. When I was with the BJP, I had to toe the party line. You can’t rebel against your party all the time. I had to support against my will the hate speeches of our leaders. I couldn’t defend such speeches but I couldn’t speak out against them either. Whenever common remarks were made, I had to support them. I had to support issues like NRC and CAA.

Supriyo was accused of inciting violence in Asansol during Ram Navami celebrations in 2018, in which the son of a local imam was killed. Following Supriyo’s declaration as Ballygunge’s TMC candidate, the Bengal Imams Association protested the decision. With Ballygunge accounting for over 60% of minority voters, there is speculation that Supriyo may not win their support despite his TMC membership.

“The questions they (minority voters) had about me are not unwarranted. It is a fact that I was associated with the BJP which indulged in polarization ahead of last year’s Assembly elections. Being a member of the party at the time, I was also part of it. But it is also a fact that if I had not won the support of minority voters, I would not have retained my seat in Asansol in 2019,” he said.

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