In a shocking turnover in West Bengal politics, today, veteran Trinamool Congress MP Sisir Adhikari joined the Bharatiya Janata Party and the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is blaiming herself for not recognising the "true face" of the influential Adhikari family of Purba Medinipur district.
Sisir's son Suvendu Adhikari had left the TMC in December last year to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He is pitted against Banerjee from the Nandigram constituency for the coming assembly polls.
Speaking at an election rally in Kanthi Dakshin, Banerjee said she had even heard rumours the Adhikari family had built an empire worth Rs 5,000 crore. The chief minister said, she will get it investigated once she is voted to power, reported PTI.
"I used to have a lot of respect. Loved them so much. I drew a picture of Goddess Maa Tara myself and gave it to them (Suvendu Adhikari) and today, they are traitors. Remember there can be no greater traitor than these. The people of Medinipur have to liberate themselves from such people," said the TMC supremo.
Most members of the Adhikari family, which holds considerable political clout in the district, have either joined the BJP or expressed a desire to join the saffron party.
She compared the Adhikari family with "Mir Jafar" (traitor) and said the people of the region will not tolerate it and give befitting replies with ballots. Mir Jafar, the military general of Bengal's last indepedent nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah, is considered a traitor for deceiving the besieged Nawab during the Battle of Plassey in 1757 which paved the way for British rule in India.
"I say I am a 'big donkey' (Ami ekta boro gadha) for having failed to recognise them. I dont know (about it), but people say their `empire' is worth Rs 5,000 crore and they will use money to buy votes. But don't vote for them," Banerjee told the rally.
She also blamed the Adhikari family for ruling the district as "zamindars" (landlords) by taking full control of the area, claiming that even she was not allowed to hold public meetings there.
Banerjee left her Bhowanipore constituency in Kolkata to contest against her former lieutenant and BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram seat, where an anti-land acquisition movement catapulted the TMC to power in the state in 2011.
(With PTI inputs)