Stirring a hornet’s nest in West Bengal where his party is taking on the ruling Trinamool Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday claimed that 40 TMC MLAs were in touch with him and would switch sides once the BJP wins the Lok Sabha elections on May 23.
His remarks drew an angry response from the TMC which accused Modi of horse trading and said it would complain to the Election Commission. In the West Bengal assembly, the TMC has 211 members in a House of 294.
“Expiry Babu PM, let’s 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,” TMC leader and Rajya Sabha member Derek O’Brien said on Twitter.
Addressing a public meeting in Sreerampur, Modi took a swipe at Chief Minister and TMC chief Mamata Banerjee: “Didi, when the results come on May 23, the lotus (BJP) will be everywhere and your MLAs will leave you. Forty of your MLAs are in touch with me even today. Didi, it will be difficult for you to survive now.”
“Didi is saying she will send me rosogollas made of soil, pebbles and stones. What is rosogolla made from Bengal’s soil? The soil of Bengal has the footprints of personalities like Ramakrishna, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Syama Prasad Mookerjee. It will be ‘prasad’ for me. Such a sweet will be a honour for me. It will give me energy and positivity. I will be grateful for sweets made from the soil of such holy ground,” Modi said.
“Didi also said that she will send me sweets made of pebbles and stones. At least the heads of some innocent people will be spared because the Trinamool Congress goons would have targeted them with stones,” he said.
He was hitting back at Banerjee who, at a public meeting in Ranigunj on April 27, said “Narendra Modi is coming to Bengal regularly to seek votes. But the people will give him rosogollas made of clay with gravel as filling. His teeth will break if he tries eating them.”
Modi said: “Didi is dreaming to be the Prime Minister. With just a handful of seats, Didi, you can’t reach Delhi. ‘Dilli abhi dur hai’. Going to Delhi is just an excuse. Her real intention is to politically establish her nephew in Bengal.” Her nephew Abhishek Banerjee is seeking re-election from Diamond Harbour which he represented in the last Lok Sabha.
The Prime Minister said once he returns to power at the Centre, pressure will be brought on the West Bengal government for development work. “Your chowkidar will bring back the lost glory of Bengal,” he said. He attacked the ideologies of the Congress, Left and Trinamool Congress, saying only the BJP can usher in development.
“There are four kinds of political parties in India: naam panthi, baam panthi, daam aur daman panthi, and lastly, vikas panthi. In the first one, followers worship a name whether or not he or she deserves it. The second political party has adopted an ideology which is foreign and a rejected one. The third is a political party which uses money and muscle to grab power and stay on. I am sure you can understand who these three are. BJP is the vikas panthi party and we work for development. You have seen the first two ruling Bengal and we will release you from the clutches of the third one,” he said.
He said before the National Register of Citizens is brought to Bengal, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will be passed to ensure that refugees get protection in the country. “We have started NRC in Assam, we will start it here. Bur before that, through the Citizenship Bill, the rights of refugees will be secured… Didi is trying to cross all limits and her goons are trying to stop people from voting. But the people of Bengal have decided: Chup Chaap, Kamal Chhaap (quietly, vote for the lotus),” he said.