The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has welcomed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to contest from the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency in the 2024 elections and said she would never be labelled as an ‘outsider’. This came after a tweet by Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mahua Moitra which fuelled speculation that the TMC Chief might be challenging Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Varanasi.
Addressing an election rally in West Bengal on Thursday, Modi said several rumours are doing the rounds that Mamata Banerjee might contest from another constituency in West Bengal where polling would be held in the last and phase of elections.
The TMC Chief is contesting from only one seat – Nandigram against BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari where polling was held on Thursday.
Quoting TMC Lok Sabha MP Mahua Moitra’s tweet, BJP National General Secretary (Organisation) B.L. Santhosh said, “Mamata Banerjee is welcome in Varanasi. Your leader (Mamata Banerjee) and party will be countered with established democratic practices. You will never be termed as an “outsider”. None of your workers will be killed and hanged like you did in Bengal to more than 140 of the BJP workers.”
Responding to Modi’s jibe at Mamata Banerjee, Mahua Moitra had tweeted, “Contesting from second seat? PM Modi jabs Mamata Banerjee. Yes Prime Minister, she will. And it will be Varanasi! So go, get your armour on.”
The TMC official account tweeted, “Didi (Mamata Banerjee) is winning Nandigram. The question of her fighting from another seat doesn’t arise. Narendra Modi ji, retract from your efforts to mislead people before they see your lies with the end of nomination in West Bengal. Look for a safer seat in 2024, as you will be challenged in Varanasi.”
West Bengal BJP co-incharge, Amit Malviya, challenged the TMC to announce that Mamata Banerjee would not contest from another Assembly constituency in West Bengal.
“If the TMC is so confident of Mamata Banerjee winning Nandigram, let them announce that she won’t contest from another seat in the later phases. The truth of the matter is that a nervous Pishi (Mamata Didi) held up polling at some booths, created ruckus simply to build an excuse for her defeat,” Malviya tweeted.