ADDRESSING his first press conference as Trinamool Congress general secretary, MP Abhishek Banerjee Monday said there would be renewed push to take the party across the country. With the BJP emerging as the TMC’s primary opponent in West Bengal, Abhishek said, “Our target is not to defeat the BJP. Our target is to save the country and protect our Constitution.”
Countering the BJP’s attacks on him citing dynasty politics, Abhishek, who is Trinamool supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew, said, “You ran a campaign on ‘dynasty’. People gave you the answer. I want to tell the BJP, sometimes dynasty is better than being nasty.”
Daring the BJP to bring in a law banning dynasty politics if it felt so strongly against it, the MP said, “If they pass such a Bill, I will resign from my post.” He said the BJP won’t bring such a law as it was “importing dynastic turncoats”. Several TMC leaders had joined the BJP ahead of the recent Assembly elections, including Suvendu Adhikari and his family members.
Abhishek also declared, “I don’t want any ministerial berth for the next 20 years. Can Jay Shah (Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s son) say the same about his BCCI post?”
Refuting claims that he was the de facto No. 2 in the party, he said everyone in the TMC is a worker.
The TMC leader said the party would go about its expansion more systematically than before, though he didn’t share any details. “We will not go to other states to win some seats or some percentage of votes. We will go to other states only when we can win that state,” he said, adding that he would talk with senior leaders within the party. “I already held talks with our veteran leaders Subrata Bakshi, Partha Chatterjee and Subrata Mukherjee. Today, I will talk with Sudip Banerjee and tomorrow I will meet Sougata Roy. We will finalise our planning and we will make it public within one month.”
Abhishek said his promotion to general secretary didn’t make him No. 2 in the TMC. “In our party, there is no second man. We are all workers of the party. I am also a worker of the party and trying to do my best for the party.”
He attacked Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who has been in constant conflict with the Banerjee government. “You are a Governor, you cannot differentiate between the BJP and Trinamool. You started attacking the Chief Minister within hours of her taking oath. This is not done,” Abhishek said.