Updated: April 3, 2021 10:56:36 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing two rallies in Bengal on Saturday, said TMC’s complaints against the Election Commission and EVMs show that it is “khela sesh” (game over) for the party led by Mamata Banerjee and “Didi should accept defeat”. The TMC supremo hit back, stating that the saffron party was trying to destroy the culture of the state and divide Bengal for its own gains.
Speaking at a rally at Haripal in Hooghly district, which goes to the polls on April 6, Modi said, “She keeps criticising EVM, the EC….If players keep criticising umpires, you should know their ‘khela sesh’ (game’s over).”
“Didi has got jittery after sensing defeat. That’s why she is criticising everybody and everything, from EC to EVMs. She is abusing me. But while abusing me, she has hurt the self-respect of the people of Bengal by saying they are taking money to attend our rallies,” the PM said.
He added, “Do people of Bengal take money to attend rallies, Didi? Who are you insulting while abusing me? You are insulting the people of the state. Didi, you have betrayed the people, and so you should accept defeat.”
Addressing another election rally at Sonarpur in South 24 Parganas district, Modi said TMC stands for ‘Taka Maar Company’ (an enterprise that loots money) which has unleashed its “goons” to “terrorise the state”.
“You keep your TMC goons under check. Explain to them that Modi is here! Their bullying will no longer be tolerated. Bengal doesn’t want violence and terror. Bengal wants education for its daughters and protection, respect and justice for its mothers,” he asserted.
दीदी की बौखलाहट का एक बहुत बड़ा कारण है- उनके 10 साल का रिपोर्ट कार्ड। pic.twitter.com/FnILeyGza2
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 3, 2021
He further said Mamata Banerjee branding BJP leaders as “outsiders” (bohiragato) is an insult to the inclusive ideology of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and the principles of the Constitution.
“Didi is talking about outsiders. We are all children of Mother India. No Indian is an outsider here. When BJP forms the government after May 2, a son of the soil will become the chief minister,” he said.
Referring to TMC MP Mahua Moitra’s tweet, Modi said, “Didi’s party says that she will contest from Varanasi, which makes it clear she has accepted her defeat in Bengal. People of Varanasi are as kind-hearted as people of Bengal. But you (Mamata Banerjee) will meet so many people with vermillion and ‘choti’. The ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan irritates you, but you will have to hear ‘Har Har Mahadev’ every two minutes there.”
Meanwhile, speaking at a rally in Raidighi in South 24 Paraganas district, Mamata Banerjee launched a stinging attack on BJP, saying that the saffron party wants to divide the people of Bengal and destroy its language and culture.
“They will divide West Bengal and its people. Our culture is that Hindus and Muslims have tea with each other and celebrate Durga puja and Kali puja together. BJP will benefit if there is unrest in our villages. Remember how they deleted the names of 14 lakh Bengalis and 2 lakh Biharis in the updated NRC in Assam,” she said.
“Don’t be intimidated. Mothers and sisters challenge them. We have no problems if the forces act impartially to ensure free and fair elections but if they act on behalf of a particular political party, we will protest,” she said,
The chief minister, who is contesting her former lieutenant and BJP candidate Suvendu Adhikari in Nandigram, alleged that there were attempts by “outsiders” to rig the elections in the constituency in Purba Medinipur district.
“There were attempts by outsiders to rig the elections in Nandigram by visiting every house before polling. Still, I will win handsomely from the seat. One local goon was accompanied by outsider goons in Nandigram. This is their pattern,” she said.
Reaffirming her Hindu identity in an apparent attempt to counter the minority appeasement charge against her, Banerjee said, “I am a devout Hindu who recites Chandi mantra every day before leaving home. But I believe in our tradition of giving respect to every religion.”
Taking a dig at BJP leaders having lunch at houses of Dalits, she said, “I am a Brahmin woman. But my all-time associate is a Scheduled Caste woman who takes care of all my needs. She also cooks food for me. I need not advertise this as those bringing five-star hotel lunch to eat at the courtyard of a Dalit home are anti-Dalit, anti-backward caste and anti-minority in nature.”
Also taking a jibe at Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM and Abbas Siddiqui’s ISF, she called upon Muslims not to “fall in the trap of a BJP-aided party from Hyderabad and its Bengal ally that are out to polarise votes”.
“Hyderabad and Furfura Sharif have been given money by BJP to divide Hindus and Muslims. If you don’t want NRC & divisions, don’t vote for them. Voting for them would mean you are voting for BJP,” she said.
Later in the day, the TMC supremo also held a roadshow in Howrah district.
The third phase of the Bengal elections will be held in 31 assembly constituencies on April 6. The state will see five more phases of polling after that, with the last one slated to be held on April 29. Counting of votes will take place on May 2.