BJP Leader Says Mamata Called Him for Help, Releases Recording
The TMC said there was nothing wrong if a leader called an ex-party worker to ‘talk nicely’.
As the first phase of polls commenced in the West Bengal Assembly elections, a BJP leader from Nandigram alleged that Trinamool Congress supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had called him to ask for help in the polls.
Banerjee will contest from Nandigram, which goes to polls on 1 April, against the BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari and the Left Front’s Minakshi Mukherjee.
The BJP leader, Proloy Pal, known to be a close aide of Suvendu Adhikari, was earlier with the TMC and defected to the BJP with Adhikari. Pal claimed that the Chief Minister called him around 10 am on 27 March.
‘Help Us, There Will Be No Problem’
In a tape released by the BJP, which is yet to be independently verified, Banerjee can be heard asking Pal to help her in the upcoming elections. “You're a young man and we know you do a lot of work. Please help us this time. You'll see there will be no problem,” Banerjee reportedly says in the tape.
“Our family started politics by looking up to you,” Pal responded. “When you became the chief minister, I organised a yagna. But despite that I did not get a resident certificate. There is nothing more shameful than this,” he is heard saying.
In response, Mamata reportedly says that “local leaders” did not let her go to Nandigram and ran their own “zamindari” there.
Finally Pal says in the clip, that he will “not be able to betray his party”.
Responding to the clip, the Trinamool said that “there was nothing wrong” with a leader trying to reach out to a party worker who’d gone over to the other side. The party, however, did not outright deny that the clip was fake.
“Can a leader not call and nicely ask a worker who’s left to help her? If a worker leaves the party and the party leader tries to properly explain to him, there is nothing wrong in that,” said senior TMC leader, Subrata Mukherjee, at a press conference.
“I'm proud to have such a leader. The BJP has twisted this to imply that we are losing the poll battle,” he added.
TMC Releases ‘BJP Tape’ on EC
Shortly after that, the Trinamool released an audio tape recording a conversation purportedly between BJP leaders Mukul Roy and Shishir Bajoria, where they can be heard discussing what to tell the Election Commission (EC).
In the clip, which, too, has not been independently verified, Roy can be reportedly heard telling Bajoria to ask the EC to frame election norms favourable to the BJP. He further asks Bajoria to tell the EC to allow any voter of Bengal to be a polling agent in any booth in the state.
“This is done by an administrative order. There’s now written law for this. We have to explain to them why we are asking for this,” Roy reportedly says in the tape.
Roy further asks Bajoria to tell the EC that those voter slips which are not being distributed should be returned to the election observers, lest it go to the “other side”.
The Election Commission is yet to respond to this clip.
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