Like Adhikari, Banerjee too, was a powerful minister in the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government before he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) two months ago. Suvendu Adhikari for BJP in East Medinipur, Rajiv Banerjee in Howrah is in the party.
The St. Xavier’s College graduate is fighting again with Howrah’s Domjur, a seat he has retained since 2011 as TMC heavyweight; 40% of the voters of this constituency are Muslim.
Therefore, his propaganda strategy is different from that of the Nandigram official, where the BJP has mainly focused on the Hindu vote; The officials who won the high-profile seat in 2016 on the TMC ticket are themselves against the Chief Minister.
Banerjee assured to retain Domjur as a BJP candidate. “I have a minority majority seat, and I have accepted the challenge of winning this seat again. Muslims are with me too, ”he tells News18 in an exclusive interview, campaigning in the Muslim-majority Damspara village of Domjur.
“Bharsa Rakhiaye, everybody was (believe me, all is well),” he tells the Muslim elders as he carries dirt in the village; His team is accompanied by an influential Muslim resident of the area.
Touching the feet of elders and talking to Muslim youth, Banerjee says changing sides will not matter. “I am a family member of every person in the constituency. They know me very well. They know that I have been with them for the last 10 years, and have never believed in caste, creed or religion. For me, this is not a political campaign, but reviving my family, ”he says.
During their march in the village, some Muslim men waved black flags at them, their supporters chanting political slogans of Vande Mataram and BJP. Banerjee remains calm, and asks his supporters not to get into any confrontation and move forward. Slogans of Jai Shri Ram were not chanted here by BJP supporters.
Domjur’s TMC candidate Kalyan Ghosh is telling voters that Banerjee is the “second suavendu” who supported and betrayed CM Mamata Banerjee by joining hands with the BJP. Muslim-majority villages in Domjur are filled with TMC posters.
According to Banerjee’s comment, “He has nothing more to say …” He was asked by TMC about the allegation of being the second Suvendu. “I was there (at TMC). But the way they treated me, the way they stopped all my work; He stopped my development work for the people of Bengal and Domjur. Naturally, I had to make a decision. I had (and) had some vision, I told them about it several times.
I was not satisfied. Now, they are campaigning against me … and launching personal attacks. Even Mamata left the Congress (Congress) and formed a new party… and then, sometimes she was the NDA (BJP-led National Democratic Alliance) and sometimes the UPA (Congress-led United Progressive Alliance) Alliance) with… everyone wants a comfort zone, ”he says.
Banerjee, clearly the eldest leader of the Howrah district, has finished her job. With Domjur, the BJP hopes that its influence will swing votes in its favor over 15 other seats in the district which the party has never won.
In fact, even in the 2019 national elections (when the BJP won 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state), the party was ahead in just one of the 16 constituencies of Howrah, which has a high Muslim population. But BJP leaders say that they can win at least seven-eight seats this time. In Howrah’s 16 seats, votes were cast in the third and fourth rounds of the eight-phase election.
Banerjee believes that the BJP has a good chance in Howrah. “You will see results from Howrah district and other places in Bengal. I will go to other places in the state after the fourth phase. I am sure the BJP will come to power. You have seen what has happened in Nandigram where CM himself lost… So, naturally, we have said that we will secure 200 seats (294 assembly constituencies of the state). You will also see magic in Howrah. “Banerjee told News18.
He turns to Muslim villagers to remind them of what they have done – ponds, drains and water pipelines. Banerjee reiterated, “they have faith in me.”