BJP national president JP Nadda said he prays for West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s speedy recovery, but there is a deviation in her statements about Wednesday’s incident in Nandigram.
Speaking at the India Today Conclave 2021 (South) in Chennai on Friday, JP Nadda said the truth of the incident will ultimately come out.
He was responding to a question whether the Nandigram incident and Mamata Banerjee’s image with a fractured foot could help the TMC gain sympathy votes in the state assembly elections.
On Wednesday, while campaigning in Nandigram, Mamata Banerjee suffered injuries on her foot and had to be taken to Kolkata for treatment. Speaking to reporters after the incident, she alleged she was “attacked and pushed” by four-five men and that it was part of a “conspiracy” against her.
Doctors at the Kolkata hospital where she was admitted for the past two days said she has suffered a fracture. She was discharged on Friday evening in a wheelchair.
“At the outset, I wish a speedy recovery to Mamata Banerjee. God should help her get a speedy recovery,” JP Nadda said.
“As far as the incident is considered, the Election Commission is yet to give a statement on the matter. But I see there is a deviation in Mamata ji’s statement, between what she said after the incident (on Wednesday in Nandigram) and what she said yesterday (in a video message from the Kolkata hospital).”
This, he said, “itself speaks volumes about the incident”. “Sachai kabhi chhupti nahi (Truth can never be suppressed).”
Responding to the question whether the Nandigram incident may help the TMC garner sympathy votes, Nadda said the people of West Bengal are “very, very politically active” and can see through things.
“Mamata ji and the TMC will try to gain sympathy and they should do. But the people of Bengal are very alert about politics and there will be no sympathy vote in that sense. I am confident that Mamata ji is going to be defeated this time and get a befitting reply. The people of Bengal are waiting for a change,” JP Nadda said.
CHALLENGE IN THE SOUTH
JP Nadda also spoke about the prospects of the BJP in southern India and his expectations from the upcoming state assembly elections.
Nadda said this time the BJP has got an opportunity to prove itself in the southern states and the party wants to avail of this opportunity.
“That is why we are aggressively raising issues related to development and also factors that have stopped development in the South,” he said.
The BJP president said he feels that the party is going to form government in West Bengal and Puducherry, retain the government in Assam and do “good” in Kerala. In Tamil Nadu, he said, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will win the election.
“We are taking these elections very seriously and development is our agenda,” Nadda said.
BUT WHAT ABOUT ANTI-INCUMBENCY?
In Tamil Nadu, the main contest is between the AIADMK and the MK Stalin-led DMK. The Congress is part of the DMK-led alliance.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the DMK-led alliance won 39 of the 40 parliamentary seats in Tamil Nadu, while the AIADMK won the remaining one.
Asked about the challenge posed by the DMK and anti-incumbency against the AIADMK government, JP Nadda said, “A lot of water has flown under the bridge since the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. There has been a sea of change in the politics in Tamil Nadu and the image of the NDA since then.”
Attacking the DMK-Congress alliance, he said the people of Tamil Nadu “have not forgotten the scams that took place during the UPA era”.
“There is no anti-incumbency against the AIADMK. The schemes initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi have been successfully implemented by the state government. I can see that development has taken place at the grassroots level. Pandemic relief material has reached the last person,” Nadda claimed.
IS BJP REMOTE-CONTROLLING AIADMK?
Since the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK president J Jayalalithaa in 2016, opposition parties have from time-to-time alleged that the BJP is “remote-controlling” the AIDMK and the state government.
Asked about this allegation, JP Nadda said that is not the BJP’s style of functioning.
“We aren’t remote controlling anyone. It is not our style of functioning. We aren’t a ‘Big Brother’. We believe in the democratic process. Had we been remote-controlling, the alliance decisions would have been different,” he said, adding that it is their (AIADMK’s) party to run the show.
SASIKALA ISSUE WAS AIDMK’S INTERNAL MATTER
In the run-up to the Tamil Nadu assembly elections, there were a lot of talks about the impact that J Jayalalithaa’s close aide VK Sasikala could have on the outcomes of the assembly polls in general and the AIADMK’s prospects in particular.
VK Sasikala had been lodged in a Bengaluru jail for the last four years and there had been indications that when she was released earlier this year, she would form her party and challenge the AIADMK.
However, in a dramatic turn of events, VK Sasikala recently announced she is retiring from politics and urged people to vote for the AIADMK. The BJP and the AIADMK both welcomed the decision.
Asked if the BJP had any role in these developments that came just ahead of the assembly polls, JP Nadda said people did approach the party but it refused to interfere.
“It has been their (AIADMK’s) internal matter, People did try to approach us but we told them that it’s their internal matter. Sasikala ji has said she wants to see the golden rule of Jayalalithaa. The AIADMK is committed to bringing that,” he said.
THE KERALA CONUNDRUM
Kerala is one of the four states where assembly polls are being held and it is one state where the BJP has not been able to win a single seat so far, either in the Lok Sabha elections or in the assembly polls.
So, how does the BJP hope to change things this time?
To this, JP Nadda said the people of Kerala are “fed-up” with the Left Front and the Congress-led alliance because of their misgovernance.
“Our vote share has increased in Kerala in past elections. The people there are fed up with the Left Front and the Congress-led UDF. They both are scamsters. We will do good in this election as people are looking for an alternative. People know that the Left front the Congress-led alliance believe in the politics of tushtikaran (appeasement). We instead believe in the politics of santushtikaran (satisfaction),” Nadda said.