Abhijeet Mukherjee, son of former President Pranab Mukherjee, has dismissed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s allegations as “baseless” and “imaginary” where she had reportedly claimed that BJP and RSS are supporting him in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.
“I deny it. It is nothing but an imaginary and baseless claim. In his statement at RSS headquarters (in Nagpur), my father Pranab Mukherjee clearly stated to BJP and RSS that India is for all. He also clearly mentioned that India is a secular country and reminded that BJP and RSS were deviating from this,” Mukherjee told ANI in an exclusive interview on Thursday.
Further taking a potshot at the Chief Minister, Mukherjee asserted that the “allegations” made by the Trinamool Congress supremo was nothing but “malicious” and “intentional”.
“I must politely remind Mamata Banerjee that she was part of the BJP-led NDA government in the early 2000s. That alliance went on to defeat CPI-M in Bengal. Now her allegations against me are nothing but malicious and intentional during the time of the election,” said Mukherjee, who is seeking re-election from Jangipur Lok Sabha constituency, a seat previously held by his father.
Exuding confidence that he would retain the seat, the Congress leader said, “In 2012, when my father was elected as the President, I contested from here on the orders of the party’s high command. She (Banerjee) said that her party will not field any candidate against me. I was happy and I won the polls.”
“In 2014, she fielded a sitting MP and contested against me. It was a four-cornered fight. My winning margin increased four times more. The TMC candidate finished third. Although my fight is still tough, I am very much confident that I will retain my seat,” he added.
Accusing the TMC of not allowing free and fair polling in West Bengal, Mukherjee said that apart from the violence that took place in the last year’s panchayat elections, other candidates from opposition parties were not allowed to file their nomination papers.
“Other than TMC, she (Banerjee) did not allow others to file their nomination. Forget about vote. I was prevented even after being a local MP. I was not allowed to file my nomination as security forces told me that Section 144 was issued and orders had come from the top (state government). There were more than 50 known faces from TMC inside the premises, where they were snatching the nomination papers from Congress, BJP and others,” he remarked.
“People are not being allowed to vote (in West Bengal). She (Banerjee) is dictating terms. Let the people decide what they want to do and to whom they want to choose. I hope that the Election Commission would help us to conduct impartial election process,” he said.
Slamming Banerjee’s request to the electorates to vote for her party and not others, Mukherjee said, “Asking for vote by a candidate to the voters is natural. But, asking people not to vote for others is a dangerous situation in Bengal.”
Jangipur is among the five seats (Balurghat, Maldaha Uttar, Maldaha Dakshin and Murshidabad), that will go to polls in the third phase of Lok Sabha elections on April 23. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.