West Bengal [India} : West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said she is likely to visit poll-bound Uttar Pradesh after the Chhat Puja. According to a statement by the TMC supremo, she is set to visit Varanasi – the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in some days. This comes after two senior Congress leaders joined the Trinamool Congress on Monday. The two leaders, Rajeshpati Tripathi and his son Lalitpati Tripathi, said they would carry on the fight to oust the BJP from power in UP and the Centre under the leadership of Banerjee.
Rajeshpati Tripathi is an ex-MLC, while Laliteshpati Tripathi is a former UP Congress vice-president and an ex-MLA. Rajeshpati and Laliteshpati are the grandson and the great-grandson of former UP chief minister Kamalapati Tripathi respectively, TMC sources said. Talking to reports, Mamata Banerjee said, “The faith of people in the TMC is increasing. The joining of the two leaders testifies that we are now an all-India party which can give real fight to the BJP. We have to move out to fight the BJP as the Congress has failed to put up any fight to it in Uttar Pradesh in the last 15 years.” The TMC supremo further said two UP leaders who joined the party invited her to visit Varanasi and she will go there after the Chhat puja. Alleging that the BJP is preventing the TMC from organising political programmes in Goa, Banerjee said she would be going to the western state too in a few days.
“We are an all India party. We can go anywhere. There is no Lakshman Rekha that can stop us. Lakshman Rekha should be for those who instigate riots. But it is the opposite in BJP-ruled Goa, Tripura, UP. They commit atrocities on Dalits, women, farmers in Hathras and Lakhimpur. They don’t allow us to rush to the side of the distressed,” Banerjee said.
“If necessary, I will sit on the road to organise our programmes in Goa if the BJP government doesn’t allow us to organise our programme democratically,” she said.
On late Kamalapati Tripathi, whose grandson and great-grandson joined the TMC, Banerjee said she met the veteran Congress leader during the AICC conference in 1983.
While the Tripathis belong to the family of freedom fighters and are integrated with the political spectrum of UP, several other families and organisations want to work with the TMC, she said.
“Those who label the TMC as a regional party should keep in mind that every party has a place of origin. Yes, we have a place of origin but aren’t we Indians? The Tripathis are from UP, but they are Indians. We hail from a region, but we are all Indians,” she added.
When asked about people leaving the Congress and joining the TMC, Banerjee declined to comment.
Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh are scheduled to be held next year.