Sreerampur/ Barrackpore: Making a sensational claim in the middle of the general election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said 40 TMC MLAs were in touch with him and will desert their party once the BJP wins the poll.
The TMC leadership was quick to hit back, accusing Modi of horse trading, and saying it would complain to the Election Commission about it.
On the campaign trail in West Bengal’s Sreerampur Lok Sabha seat in Hoogly district and Barrackpore constituency in North 24 Parganas, Modi accused TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee of nepotism, insisting she wants to politically establish her nephew in West Bengal.
Modi also assailed her over her prime ministerial ambitions, saying “Didi, Dilli door hai (Delhi is far away).”
“Didi, even your MLAs will desert you when the results of this election are out. Your 40 MLAs are in touch with me and all your MLAs will desert you once the BJP wins the election. Political ground has slipped from under your feet,” Modi told an election rally in Sreerampur, targeting the West Bengal chief minister.
TMC group leader in Rajya Sabha Derek O’ Brien was quick to allege that Modi was indulging in horse trading.
“Expiry Babu PM, lets get this straight. Nobody will go with you. Not even one councillor. Are you election campaigning or horse trading! Your expiry date is near. Today, we are complaining to the Election Commission. Charging you with horse trading,” O’Brien tweeted.
Mocking Banerjee for often losing her cool as she was “sensing defeat”, Modi said she cannot even dream of becoming the prime minister.
“With just a handful of seats, ‘Didi’ you can’t reach Delhi. Delhi is far away. Going to Delhi is just an excuse.
Her real intention is to politically establish her nephew,” he said.
Banerjee’s nephew Abhishek is a sitting MP from Diamond Harbour and the TMC candidate for the seat.
Modi alleged that TMC “goons” were trying to prevent people from voting and attacking BJP workers. He claimed BJP leaders were not being allowed to campaign freely.
“Mamata didi your army of goons is trying to stop the people from casting their votes. Mamata didi, democracy offered you the position you occupy now. Dont betray democracy. The people of West Bengal have made up their mind,” he said, claiming that across Bengal there is a desire to defeat the TMC.
The prime minister’s remarks came in the wake of reports of violence during the fourth phase of polling in eight Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal.
Giving the slogan of “Chup Chap, BJP te chhap” (cast your vote silently for the BJP), Modi took a dig at Banerjee for her comments that the people of Bengal will, instead of votes, offer him rosogollas made of clay with stones inside.
“It will be like ‘prasad’ for me. I will be honoured to have rosogollas that are made of the soil of the sacred land of Bengal. The land of Ram Krishna Pramahansa, Swami Vivekananda, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Rabindranath Tagore,” he said.
Citing Banerjee, Modi said he would also be happy to have the stones that the West Bengal leader said would be inside the clay rosogollas as it will bring down the number of stones being used by “Mamatadi’s goons” to attack people.
Miffed over Modi’s disclosure during a televised interview that she gifts him kurtas and sweets every year, a combative Banerjee had said last week that the people of Bengal will offer him rosogollas made of clay with stone fillings instead of votes that will break all his teeth.
Maintaining that the state has already seen three political ideologies -Naampanthi (people who rule by using the name of family), Vaampanthi (Leftist), Daam aur Damanpanthi (people who rule through corruption and oppression)– Modi said time has come for it to adopt “Vikaspanthi” (people wedded to the ideology of development) represented by the BJP.
“We don’t need to give you the example of ‘Naampanthi’,” Modi said in an apparent reference to Congress party and the Gandhi family.
“We have seen three decades of Left rule that was full of violence and misgovernance. The foreign ideology, which has been discarded by the entire world. The third is ‘Daam aur Damanpnathi’ regime of the Trinamool Congress which is ruling by using money and muscle power, and has turned Bengal into killing fields,” Modi alleged.
He also raked up the contentious issues of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which the TMC is vehemently opposing.
“We will weed out each and every infiltrator from the country. We will first pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to ensure that refugees get citizenship and then NRC will be brought to throw out infiltrators,” he asserted.
Addressing another rally at Barrackpore, Modi claimed the country is witnessing a trend where patriotism and nationalistic feelings were being subjected to abuse, and asked people to beware of those who negate nationalism for the sake of votebank politics.
“The country is witnessing a peculiar trend of abusing partriotism and nationalistic feelings. West Bengal is the land where the national song ‘Vande Mataram’ was created. This is the land of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhaya. But here the song is being misintepreted to serve vote bank politics,” he said.
“Mamata Banerjee is also part of this group that believes in singing paeans to Pakistan. The people of Bengal would not spare her for supporting those who are opposing our country,” he said.
Noting that it was the BJP which honoured the contributions and sacrifices of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and the Indian National Army (INA) to the freedom struggle, Modi said political parties, including the TMC, which had never done that, are now questioning the valour of the armed forces.
“These are the people who never honoured our freedom fighters. They are now questioning the valour of the armed forces. They are more comfortable trusting Pakistan rather than our armed forces and are questioning the air strikes,” he said.
Under the TMC rule “all three–mother, motherland and people are suffering”, he said, referring to the ‘Ma, Maati and Manush’ slogan of West Bengal’s ruling party.
Referring to the closed jute mills in the industrial belt of Barrackpore, Modi said first the Left Front and now didi’s ‘daman’ (repression) are responsible for it.