Kolkata: On Wednesday, Former Kolkata Municipal Corporation mayor Sovan Chatterjee and his friend professor Baisakhi Banerjee dismissed rumours of joining the BJP. Chatterjee was asked by the Trinamool Congress in November 2018 to step down as the city mayor. He was also asked relinquished the posts of housing and fire services minister in the Mamata Banerjee cabinet. It is to be noted that once a favourite of Banerjee, the rift between the two grew over problems in Chatterjee’s personal life that went public, causing an embarrassment to the Trinamool Congress. Details of Chatterjee’s association with Baisakhi and the spat with his estranged wife Ratna Chatterjee becoming public domain, coupled with reports of Chatterjee not functioning efficiently at work, led to him to be sidelined in the party.
Chatterjee said, “Nobody from the BJP has contacted me nor did I contact them. I have been betrayed by my party (TMC), but I will prove myself. This is a bad time for me and I think it will soon get over.” Baisaki said “There have been speculations about me joining BJP. Yes, I did receive a call from a BJP leader on March 2, but I don’t want a ticket now,”.The rumour of Baisakhi joining the saffron party to contest against Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek Banerjee from the Diamond Harbour constituency led to a gherao by TMC workers of a bungalow where Chatterjee and Baisakhi had put up on Monday night.
Baisakhi later filed a complaint with West Bengal Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora alleging police inaction against the harassment. Her mother and six-year-old daughter were also with them in the bungalow in Raichak, South 24 Parganas district. Stating that the ordeal went on for a few hours into the night, Baisakhi said even the former mayor’s calls were ignored by police.
She said the protesters had approached Chatterjee’s security guards and even threatened to rape Baisakhi for contesting against Abhishek and kill Chatterjee. They were later rescued by Chatterjee’s personal security guards and escorted back to Kolkata. Admitting that she had received a call from a BJP leader on March 2, Baisakhi said she would not contest for any party. Once a favourite of Banerjee, the rift between the two grew over problems in Chatterjee’s personal life that went public, causing an embarrassment to the Trinamool Congress.