Mr Babul Supriyo, former Union minister and BJP MP from Asansol who joined the Trinamul Congress yesterday, said today that Miss Mamata Banerjee is one of the main contenders for the post of Prime Minister in 2024.
Speaking at a Press conference in Kolkata, Mr Supriyo, said Mamata Banerjee is a front-runner as an Opposition consensus candidate for the post of Prime Minister and at present, she is the most popular Opposition face in the country. Mr Supriyo also said he has nothing to prove to anybody, and he has been involved in politics from the grassroots level since becoming an MP in 2014 on a BJP ticket from Asansol.
“Life has opened a new avenue for me from the prospect of being retired hurt from public life… I received a lot of support from a party (TMC) with which I had a very tumultuous relationship,” Mr Supriyo said.
He said he was not able to play in the players’ eleven in the BJP after his ministry was stripped from him, so he grabbed the opportunity when he was made the offer to join the Trinamul Congress by the party’s national general secretary, Abhishek Banerjee.
He said, “I’m a player and would change my jersey if I’m not allowed to play in the forefront.” Mr Supriyo said, “I got the opportunity to fulfill my innings and not to retire hurt… I thank Mamata didi (CM Mamata Banerjee) and Abhishek (Banerjee) for giving me a big opportunity. It was completely unexpected.” He said he would meet Trinamul chief Mamata Banerjee tomorrow and she would declare in what capacity he would be inducted into the party.
He highlighted he will not delete the post on social media in which he announced his decision to retire from politics. He said; “I know I will receive brickbats from my former colleagues in the BJP and I will reply to them with my work for Bengal.”
He said during his tenure as minister, he worked hard for the East-West Metro. Mr Supriyo also sought to downplay criticism by Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari and other BJP leaders for his decision to cross over to the TMC, saying they have the right to make remarks.
“I had respected his (Adhikari) decision when he had left the TMC to join BJP. Similarly, if I leave BJP to be a part of the TMC, he should respect my decision,” he said. Mr Supriyo, however, was critical of BJP state president Dilip Ghosh, and said he would buy the senior saffron party leader a copy of ‘Barna Porichoy’ to learn the basics of the Bengali language.
Asked about the memes and trolling targeted at him since his announcement of joining the TMC, Supriyo said, “Those who are making snide comments against me, let me say it is fair enough. All is fair in love and war. “Whatever I had posted in social media in the past was made in love. And, I think there can be rivals but not enemies. I am thinking about today and tomorrow, not about anything in the past.”
To another question, Supriyo said he would not like to face the embarrassment of campaigning against BJP candidate for the Bhabanipur bypoll Priyanka Tibrewal, “who is a fighter and helped me in legal matters”. Tibrewal is pitted against Banerjee in Bhawanipore, which will go to the polls on 30 September.