KOLKATA: An audio clip with an alleged conversation between West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and a local BJP leader in Nandigram has added fuel to the already roaring fire between the saffron party and the Trinamool Congress.
The day Bengal went to the first phase of polling on Saturday, the BJP released an audio clip, which is being widely shared on social media, where Banerjee is purportedly heard cajoling TMC turncoat Pralay Pal to work for the ruling party. Pal is a vice-president of BJP's Tamluk district.
The saffron camp's revelation could be a big embarrassment for the ruling TMC as Banerjee is contesting from Nandigram in East Midnapore against her once-trusted lieutenant Suvendu Adhikari, who defected to the BJP in December.
A BJP delegation, led by party general secretary and Bengal minder Kailash Vijayvargiya, met the state's chief electoral officer and handed over the tape. Vijayvargiya said: "The CM has realised her defeat in Nandigram, therefore, she is begging for support from one of our local leaders."
The TMC questioned the genuineness of the audiotape but asserted that since Pal was a former TMC leader, there was nothing wrong with the CM trying to woo him back. In the audio clip, a conversation over the phone, the female voice requested Pal to work for the TMC in the ongoing Assembly elections.
"You should help us win Nandigram. Look, I know you have some grievances, but that's due mostly to the Adhikaris who never allowed me to get into Nandigram or East Midnapore. I will take care of everything henceforth," the female voice can be heard telling Pal.
However, Pal was not game. "Didi, you called me and I am honoured. But I can't betray the Adhikaris as they have stood by me through thick and thin," he was heard saying in the audio clip.
Nandigram will go to the polls on April 1 and such revelation by the BJP on Saturday might have an impact in the next phases of the elections. Questioning the clip's genuineness, TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said: "Even if it is the voice of the CM, She just requested a former party leader to come back. Nothing wrong in it." Adhikari said Banerjee is "politically bankrupt".