The BJP in West Bengal today claimed that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was now so desperate to avoid defeat that she called up a former Trinamool colleague, now with the BJP, for help.
Senior BJP leaders Kailash Vijayvargiya and Shishir Bajoria played an audio clip to the media in which the ruling party chief is heard talking to Proloy Pal, who recently followed her former aide Suvendu Adhikari into the BJP.
NDTV cannot independently verify the authenticity of the tape.
In the alleged telephonic conversation, Mr Pal is heard refusing Ms Banerjee’s request to return to the Trinamool, citing his inability to betray the Adhikari family which took care of him when he was tortured by the CPM.
Mr Pal, the Vice-President of the BJP’s East Midnapore District unit, has also come on record confirming his position.
Suvendu Adhikari, till recently an aide to Ms Banerjee, moved to the BJP late last year, turning into one the most bitter critics of his former mentor. The two are now contesting from the same constituency, Nandigram, in the ongoing polls for the next state assembly.
Sharing the audio clip of the purported conversation, BJP IT Cell chief Amit Malviya tweeted: “Massive! Mamata Banerjee calls Proloy Pal, BJP’s district Vice President in Nandigram and pleads for help! Proloy tells her that he was humiliated in TMC and he along with this family cannot betray the BJP. Pishi is definitely losing Nandigram and TMC Bengal…”
Hitting back, the Trinamool released a purported audio tape of the BJP’s troubleshooter Mukul Roy discussing an Election Commission rule change that was fulfilled last week.
Bengal reported 79.79 per cent voter turnout in the first phase of the 2021 Assembly election that began this morning for 30 seats.
The ruling Trinamool Congress faces a stiff challenge in the state from the BJP (and a lesser one from the Congress-Left alliance) in its bid for a third straight term. In 2016 the Trinamool swept 26 of the 30 seats on offer today. Votes will be counted on May 2.