Updated: March 8, 2021 7:47:05 am
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi attacked Mamata Banerjee and her government at his first campaign rally in West Bengal, the Chief Minister countered him with her own huge rally in Siliguri, calling him a “liar” and demanding an explanation for the high prices of auto fuels and cooking gas.
“Prime Minister will have to answer why the prices of LPG, petrol and diesel are being increased. Otherwise, you have to leave,” she said.
After riding an electric scooter in Kolkata on February 25 – a protest that Modi mocked in his speech at Brigade Parade Ground – Mamata walked with a cardboard cutout of a cooking gas cylinder on Sunday.
The padayatra, which began from Siliguri’s Darjeeling More around the time Modi started to speak in Kolkata, ended at Venus More about 3.5 km away. Mamata was accompanied by women leaders of her party, including Chandrima Bhattacharya, Kakali Ghosh Dastidar, Dola Sen, Mimi Chakraborty, and Nusrat Jahan.
“Before the election he said Ujjwala and after the election all is jumla, all is ghapla… The mother of the thief makes the biggest racket,” she said in her speech after the march.
“The Prime Minister never came here to work. He can only defame and carry out propaganda. We are giving free rice to the people, but they need gas to cook it. The price of a cylinder is almost Rs 900.” She then asked Modi, “What is your price?”
On crimes against women in BJP-ruled states, Mamata said: “Look what you made Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat. In West Bengal, women are safe even at midnight and in the wee hours, but in those states, women are not safe even at 3 in the afternoon.”
By continuously raising the price of LPG, the central government had directly targeted women, Mamata said. “The BJP will be defeated in all five states (going to polls in March-April),” she said.
“They (BJP) talk about extortion in West Bengal, and of building a ‘Sonar Bangla’. But who is more extortionist than the Prime Minister? He has already sold SAIL, Coal India, BSNL. How many crores did you get from that deal?” Mamata said.
“They talk about ‘syndicate’. But who can be a bigger syndicate than Modi-Amit Shah? They have made BJP into a union territory. Everyone in the party has to abide by their command.”
The Chief Minister accused the Prime Minister of lying. “I have never seen such a liar Prime Minister. No Prime Minister has said such big lies. That is why I am saying, ‘Khela hobe’ (Let’s play the game). You fix the date, the time, and the venue. We will play one-to-one. Let’s see who wins. ‘Khela hobe, dekha hobe, jeta hobe… hum khelenge, hum jitenge, aur Modi ko hatayenge, BJP ko harayenge,” she said.
Mamata described the renaming of the Motera stadium after Modi as “shameful”. “The stadium was named after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, but the Prime Minister named it after himself. He put his picture on the Covid vaccination certificate. He is also sending a satellite with his picture and name. This is very shameful.”
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