TMC dares BJP to name ‘bhaipo’
The Trinamul Congress on Sunday lashed out at the BJP over relentless attacks against the “bhaipo (nephew)”, deemed to be aimed at an influential leader in the ruling party known for his proximity to chief minister Mamata Banerjee, daring the saffron camp to name the two-term MP.
In a news conference at Trinamul’s headquarters, spokesperson Kunal Ghosh accused the BJP of political bankruptcy, which he held responsible for the allegedly base tactics of levelling unsubstantiated charges that amount to “character assassination”.
“One after another, canards, lies, and personal attacks. Astonishingly, a particular youth leader, an MP of ours is being singled out as the principal target of these attacks. Unable to compete with his political abilities, they are stooping to these personal attacks and the character assassination,” said Ghosh.
The immediate trigger for the counter offensive were remarks on Saturday by the BJP’s Bengal minder Kailash Vijayvargiya, but the alleged duo of “pishi-bhaipo” or “bua-bhatija” — aunt-nephew in Bengali and Hindi, respectively — has been a recurring theme of the BJP’s recent campaigns in Bengal, resorted to by even the likes of Union home minister Amit Shah and BJP chief J.P. Nadda.
Trinamul, which usually does not respond directly to the theme specifically, addressed it on Sunday, asserting that it exposed the saffron camp’s “fear” of the youth leader and his capability.
“The discourse should centre around development and allied agenda. Because the BJP cannot talk about that and has only underhanded strategies, it is stooping to such lows…. I want to tell Vijayvargiya and his colleagues clearly, instead of making such indirect references through use of such abstracts, name him directly, if you have the courage,” said Ghosh.
“When a man like Vijayvargiya says nephew, it could mean anything, even the secretary of the BCCI (Shah’s son, Jay)…. It is imperative that he takes the name,” he added.
On Saturday, Vijayvargiya had alleged that Trinamul’s reins were now entirely in the hands of the bhaipo and not even Mamata had any control over the party anymore, and that it was the so-called nephew’s elevation that necessitated the relegation to the sidelines able,
senior leaders, such as Mukul Roy (former de facto Number Two of Trinamul, now a national vice-president of the BJP) and Suvendu Adhikari (minister and Trinamul general-secretary, allegedly being wooed by the BJP for a possible switch).
Responding to Ghosh’s volleys, BJP state chief Dilip Ghosh mocked Trinamul, but steered clear of naming the bhaipo.
“When the time comes, he will be named. We are the principal Opposition in Bengal, our objective is to reach out to the people and make sure they understand what we are talking about. If it is so difficult to understand, why is the noise of popular applause deafening every time the words pishi or bhaipo is mentioned in our speeches?”
“We are not afraid of anybody. Names will be taken soon. But when anybody mentions ‘Didi (elder sister)’ in Bengal’s political context, is the reference lost on anybody?” asked the Midnapore MP.