Mamata Banerjee is an iconic leader and she has shown the country that she definitely has an important role in 2024, says Babul Supriyo
Not many were surprised when Babul Supriyo jumped ship to the TMC recently. The sulking singer-turned-politician, who said he was quitting politics after being dropped as Union Minister of State for Environment, said Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee will play a key role in 2024. News18 spoke to Supriyo on his decision to shift loyalties, future plans and his war of words with BJP. Edited excerpts:
What led to the change? What happened in the last three days?
There is a simple answer to this. I responded to an opportunity that was given to me by Didi (Mamata Banerjee), Abhishek (Banerjee) and TMC. It all happened in three days. There was something special that they planned for me which made me change my decision.
Many said I have done some good work. I won twice; second time with such a big margin so leaving politics for me looked like I was retired hurt. I am elated with this new opportunity which motivated me to change my decision and get back to serving people to the best of my ability. I wholeheartedly left politics and now I will come back wholeheartedly. I am very happy that I will be starting my new innings with great motivation.
Did you remember the “Jhalmuri” episode when you were switching sides? Your opposition is saying that your change of side started from that day?
I don’t need to prove anything to anyone. Today, people who are saying all this (hints to Anupam Hazra), are speaking out of turn. They were not there in 2014. They are now my opposition and it’s okay that they will criticise. Some are criticising in a gentlemanly way, some others are like Dilip (Ghosh) da, who is specialist in “apashabo” (bad language). I have thought of giving him “Barno Parichay”, he needs to learn from there.
Bengal is a dignified language worked upon by Rabindranath Tagore. Ghosh needs to know this is the land of Rabindranath, Nazrul and Netaji; he has to learn all this and then I will sit with him in debate.
What really happened in last three days?
There were motivating, captivating things. I am inspired by Didi and Abhishek. We kept it a solemn affair, nobody knew this. I will go by rule book. I will reach Delhi on Tuesday and when Speaker gives me time to resign, I am ready.
I also want to assure Asansol that I will work for them since Asansol has laid my foundation. Let me be very honest; I want to be in the playing eleven. If the coach thinks I am not fit for playing eleven when I think I should be there, then I will not sit and warm benches and take perks out of public money. I will play for the coach and team that believes in what I can deliver.
Sources saying you are going to get a Rajya Sabha berth. What’s your take?
See, this is the prerogative of CM didiI don’t want to say anything on this. We will have to wait. Enjoy the speculation for a few days and then you will know exactly what happens.
A Twitter war has started since last night. How are you handling it?
I don’t even have Facebook, Twitter apps on my phone and am off social media for a long time. It’s the opposition’s job to criticise. Swapan da (Swapan Dasgupta) has criticised me the way a gentleman does. I believed that I was close to Tathagatha Roy; it’s not that I am creating history by changing sides. There is nothing new. What was the BJP doing when they opened the doors for all to come and join their party, hurting all local workers’ sentiment?
Let them do their job. Suvendu Adhikari is a friend of mine; we can be rivals but that does not mean you have to be enemies. When he joined BJP, he faced the same thing. Now he is doing same thing to me. Everything is fair in love and war. I am not taking this too seriously, I was expecting this.
Priyanka Tibrewal has said you won’t campaign against her as she is your ‘sister’. Will you not campaign in Bhabanipur?
Do you really think Mamata Banerjee needs Babul to campaign in Bhabanipur? I don’t think so. Let’s wait and see, I don’t care about speculations. Mamata Banerjee is an iconic leader and she has shown the country that she definitely has an important role in 2024.