As the run-up to the West Bengal assembly election is heating up, so are the emotions of the leaders involved. In one such incident, moments after wife Sujata Mondal Khan joined Trinamool Congress on Monday, BJP MP from Bishnupur Saumitra Khan called her decision a “big mistake” and announced he will soon send her a divorce notice.
Almost breaking down at the press meet, Khan, who is also Bengal BJP Yuva Morcha President, said, “I give you full freedom. This is my appeal to you to remove my surname ‘Khan’ from your name,” Reminding her of the difficulties posed by the TMC, he said, “They cut your power supply, there were threats of attack on you… Your job was snatched by Mamata Banerjee or Abhishek Banerjee.
At that point of your life, I kept the promise I made to you –– transferred 50% of my salary to your account every month… so that you don’t have to ask for it… Now you have joined hands with those who had harmed you in past.”
He stressed that without BJP, he was no one. And had she not been his wife, nobody would have known her either. “BJP has given me all recognition.
I am obliged that you have campaigned for me in the past, but it is also true that I wouldn’t have won the seat without BJP’s name,” he said. “Every family has its fights.
But, you have chosen politics over the family to feed your high ambitions. You have been trapped and it is your big mistake,” he added.
Sujata Welcomed into TMC, states her views
Sujata was welcomed into the TMC by senior party leader and MP Saugata Roy in Kolkata. When asked about Saumitra Khan, Sujata said, “Family and politics can’t be on same platform, so let’s not talk on those lines. It’s my decision today and who guarantees that Saumitra Khan won’t join me in future?”
Besides, Sujata attacked the BJP for “not respecting those who actually deserve it”, adding that it’s only the TMC and its supremo Mamata Banerjee who can “take Bengal towards development and save the state from divisive politics”. “Today I am feeling very happy to join Didi,” she said.
Interestingly, in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, it was Sujata who single-handedly ran Khan’s election campaign given that he was barred from Bankura, where his Lok sabha constituency Bishnupur falls, by an order of the Calcutta High Court regarding a case of extorting money.
Sujata, who had campaigned for her husband ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls after he was barred by the court from entering Bankura, said she loves challenges and does not want to work for a party that has no face for Assembly elections.
She further criticized BJP’s organizational strategies, saying, “They have six names standing in the pipeline for the CM post and 13 are in the waiting list for the deputy CM seat. When I was in BJP and people would ask who is your face for CM, I had to say, Modi. Till Lok Sabha elections it was fine, but BJP has failed to find a face in Bengal for its party.”
In a veiled reference to TMC turncoat Suvendu Adhikari, “I am not an opportunist like others. I was with the BJP when it was zero and gifted them a difficult seat like Bishnupur. Now, the same party is giving importance to corrupt leaders rejected by the TMC, and those who have fought for the party in difficult times have been sidelined,” she said.
Adhikari, a former TMC heavyweight, crossed over to the saffron camp along with 23 others in presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday. Inducting them into the party fold, Shah had claimed that there will be more desertions to the BJP from the TMC and that the Chief Minister will be left alone in her party by the time elections arrive.
“By the time elections arrive, Mamata Banerjee will be left alone in her party,” Shah said while taking potshots at the TMC over a string of desertions ahead of next year’s Assembly elections for 294 seats.