Fuelling speculation on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) search for a chief ministerial candidate before the West Bengal assembly elections, which is going to be held in March-April, Union home minister Amit Shah on Friday said a bhoomiputra (son of the soil) born and brought up in Bengal would be the next chief minister if his party comes to power.
Shah, who was on a two-day visit to the state, touched upon several issues, stating that the saffron party will not be tagged as a communal force in a few years from now and the race for the second position in the Bengal polls will be a close one with the Congress, Left and cleric Abbasuddin Siddiqui trying to forge an alliance. He added that chief minister Mamata Banerjee is not an overhyped leader but has failed.
Shah talked of the BJP’s yet to be named chief ministerial candidate while criticizing Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee for branding BJP leaders visiting Bengal from other states as ‘bohiragato’ or outsiders.
“TMC has started a flawed campaign about outsiders coming to Bengal. The next chief minister will obviously be a Bengali. Is Mamata Banerjee trying to create a Bengal where nobody from any part of the country can come? How could Subhas Chandra Bose be president of the Congress party? How could Jana Gana Mana and Vande Mataram be recognized by the entire nation? Isn’t there any image of a nation?” said Shah.
“I have said 25 times that the next chief minister will be a son of the soil who was born and brought up in Bengal. If Mamata Banerjee tries to divide people on the outsider issue I must say she does not know Bengalis. The parliamentary board of our party has not decided the chief ministerial candidate yet,” he added.
"A whole team of our party is working on this. A lot of eminent people are joining the party. If you look around you might see the next cabinet,” he quipped. “I do not think Mamata Banerjee is an overhyped leader. She is a big leader and has been chief minister twice. But she has failed and people have realized that. I do not nullify her political ideology,” Shah further said.