Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and MP from Diamond Harbour, South 24 Parganas, West Bengal Abhishek Banerjee said her aunt, as a leader of the then undivided Indian National Congress (INC), was an object of vicious attacks by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M) or CPM], which included assaulting her physically. In comparison, he said, the BJP “did not even count”, insinuating that there was some role of the challenger to the Trinamool Congress’s (AITC) power in the injury that the chief minister had sustained in Nandigram on 10 March.
Abhishek Banerjee today led a roadshow in support of June Malia in Medinipur (formerly Midnapore). Reminiscing about June’s relationship with the Mahishadal Palace, Abhishek Banerjee said, “Medinipur wants its daughter.”
Abhishek seized the opportunity to accuse the BJP of assault on the chief minister in Nandigram, much as eyewitness accounts and reports do not corroborate the allegation. He said, “They presumed they would attack Mamata and break her leg. Then she would be intimidated and stay at home.”
Raking up the “outsider” issue again and ignoring the addition of former union minister from the BJP Yashwant Sinha in the AITC, Abhishek Banerjee said in the Medinipur meeting, “June Malia is a native of the historical Malinipur. The people of Medinipur want their daughter while outsiders want to rule Medinipur.”
“They say they will rebuild Sonar Bangla. Why are they unable to turn gold out of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat? Why couldn’t they turn Rajasthan into gold when they were ruling?” Abhishek Banerjee said in the public meeting.
“Mamata Banerjee is building Sonar Bangla already,” the chief minister’s nephew asserted, adding, that the state government was providing for free food, education and health.
Abhishek Banerjee claimed that the West Bengal health services were so much better than the comparable schemes of the union government that even Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh’s family avails of the state plan, preferring it to the centre’s Ayushman Bharat.
“Dilip Ghosh’s family says, “Long live Mamata Banerjee,” Abhishek Banerjee claimed.
“But the BJP is saying that our claim is false. Let there be competition. What has my government done, what has your government done? How many super-speciality hospitals are there in Gujarat? All you can do is arouse communal sentiment,” Abhishek Banerjee said
The Diamond Harbour MP was more aggressive at the Nandigram public meeting of the AITC where he accused the BJP of injuring Mamata Banerjee. According to him, “A woman with broken legs is wandering from one end of Bengal to the other. They presumed they would attack Mamata, break her leg and stun her to silence, forcing her to stay at home without campaigning.”
“The CPM could not stop her by breaking all 206 of her bones. BJP kon chhār (does not even count)! Mamata Banerjee cannot be stopped by fracturing her leg,” the chief minister’s heir apparent said. “The CPM had tried it but failed,” Abhishek Banerjee added.
Abhishek Banerjee’s claims fact-checked
Gujarat replaced West Bengal as the top governed state in the 2019 Skoch rankings.
While there are 22 parameters that go into the overall ranking, health and cleanliness dominated the good governance initiatives across the country in 2019, said the Skoch survey report. Then poll-bound Delhi was at the 19th place, lower than the 15th spot it occupied in the previous two years.
Fact-check result: Abhishek Banerjee’s claim that healthcare in West Bengal is better than that in Gujarat is false.
In one of the most infamous incidents of political violence in West Bengal, a bunch of CPM workers had attacked Mamata Banerjee at Hazra, central Kolkata on 16 August 1990. Lalu Alam, then a member of CPM youth wing DYFI, was accused to have been at the forefront of the attack on Mamata Banerjee. The then firebrand leader of the undivided Bengal Congress, with her head bleeding profusely, was rushed first to the SSKM Hospital and then transferred to a private hospital at the insistence of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s insistence. The incident was caught on camera by Doordarshan as well as flashed on the front page of Anandabazar Patrika. Alam was acquitted for lack of evidence on 13 September 2019.
The trial started on 2 November 1992, more than two years after the assault. The key witnesses, who died during the trial, included Mamata Banerjee’s colleagues like Dibyendu Biswas, Anil Mukherjee, Dilip Majumdar, Anup Chatterjee and Biswanath Bhattacharya. Cross-examinations in the case ended on 21 August 2019. Judge Pushpal Satpathy deemed the evidence in front of him inadequate to convict Alam under Section 232 of the Criminal Procedure Act.
Fact-check result: Abhishek Banerjee’s claim that henchmen of the CPM broke all 206 of Mamata Banerjee’s bones is at best a figurative exaggeration.