Union Minister Anurag Thakur on Tuesday added a sharp jibe to the BJP’s continued attack against Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and Member of Parliament, Abhishek Banerjee. Speaking at an event in the state, Mr Thakur compared the politician with the “sheikhs” of the Gulf countries, alluding to Mr Banerjee’s growing influence in the ruling Trinamool.
“You have sheikhs in the Gulf countries. But here, Abhishek hi ab-sheikh ho gaya hai (Abhishek has now become a sheikh). The entire world now knows how big a sheikh he has become,” Mr Thakur said at a BJP function in the state.
Mr Thakur also said that only Prime Minister Narendra Modi can develop the state.
“Some say it is a very difficult task to bring progress in Bengal. But it is difficult for those who don’t want to do it, and for PM Modi, nothing is impossible,” he said.
The BJP has been unrelenting in its attacks against Mr Banerjee, months ahead of the Bengal Assembly election. For weeks, “tolabaj bhaipo” or extortionist nephew has been a party punch line in its campaign against Mamata Banerjee.
The party also accuses the Chief Minister of running a political dynasty by propping up her nephew.
The BJP last month affected the worst exodus in the history of Trinamool as over 60 leaders, including an MP and half a dozen MLAs, crossed over to the party at Home Minister Amit Shah’s rally in Bengal.
Among those who joined the BJP was Suvendu Adhikari, an influential Trinamool leader, who had fallen out with the party leadership. During his rebellion, the leader took several jibes at Mr Banerjee without naming him. After he quit the Trinamool, however, he launched frontal attacks on the MP, calling for his removal with the slogan “tolabaj bhaipo hatao”.
Mr Banerjee last month counterattacked saying it was Mr Adhikari who was an extortionist, not him.
“It is your name in the Sarada scam. You are the tolabaj. And you dare to say tolabaj bhaipo hatao? My friend, I am neither in Sarada nor in Narada. ED (Enforcement Directorate), CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) will get nothing by tracking me. Do what you please,” he had said.
The BJP and Trinamool have been engaged in a bitter turf war in Bengal, especially after the JP Nadda-led party won 18 Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 general elections. The Trinamool has called the BJP’s aim to form a government in Bengal, “daydreaming”.