Pursurah (West Bengal), January 25
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday lashed out at the BJP, accusing it of insulting Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose by raising ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans at an event to mark the icon’s 125th birth anniversary.
Mamata said she had to face taunts and insult in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Victoria Memorial during the main ‘Parakram Diwas’ celebration on Saturday.
Branding the BJP as a group of “outsiders” and “Bharat Jalao Party”, she said it had been continuously insulting the icons of Bengal, Netaji being the “latest addition to the list”.
“Would you invite anyone to your house and then insult the person? Is this the culture of Bengal or our country? I would have had no problem if slogans hailing Netaji were raised. I would have saluted them.
“But they didn’t do that. To taunt me, they shouted slogans which had no relation to the programme. I was insulted in front of the Prime Minister of the country. This is their (BJP) culture,” the Trinamool Congress boss told a rally here.
She also termed those who raised the slogans as “religious fanatics”, and said they had no idea about the culture of Bengal.
Mamata had on Saturday refused to speak at an official event attended by Modi to observe Subhas Chandra Bose’s 125th birth anniversary, after ‘Jai Shri Ram’ chants greeted her.
The Chief Minister said the saffron party could offer cash for votes ahead of the Assembly elections, but urged people to cast their ballots in favour of the TMC.
“BJP may pay you cash. If they do, take it but vote for TMC when you enter the booth. The BJP is completely a fake party. It is ‘Bharat Jalao Party’. They can insult me, but I will not tolerate West Bengal’s insult,” she asserted.
Reacting to Mamata’s accusations of disrespecting icons, BJP vice-president Jaiprakash Majumdar said it was the CM who insulted Netaji.
“The allegations are baseless. It is she who insulted Netaji and tried to politicise the event. We don’t need lessons from her,” he said.
Mamata also referred to a recent incident of trolling of two Bengali actresses on the social media, contending that the BJP does not know how to respect women.
“The actresses were telling me how they were threatened and trolled on social media with dire consequences.
“How dare the BJP and its members intimidate daughters of Bengal? If our daughters are harmed in any way, we will teach them (BJP) a lesson for life,” the TMC supremo thundered.
Dubbing turncoats in her party as “betrayers”, she said those who had deserted the TMC in the run-up to the polls would never be welcomed back.
“The ones who left knew they would not be getting tickets in the coming elections. It is good they exited, or else we would have thrown them out… Those who want to leave the party should do that as early as possible,” she added.
Mamata said those who were greedy switch over to the saffron camp to protect the money “they have looted” in the last few years.
Unrelenting in her attack on the BJP, Mamata further said it had assumed the role of “washing machine”, becoming a party “tainted leaders join to come out clean”.
“BJP is using money bags and intimidation tactics to coerce TMC leaders into joining the party,” she alleged.
The feisty Chief Minister also blamed the CPI(M) and the Congress for the rise of the BJP in the state.
Exuding confidence of returning to power for the third consecutive term with a bigger mandate, Mamata said the saffron party’s defeat was imminent in the upcoming polls.
“They have bought a few media houses who are showing fake surveys, indicating more seats to the BJP,” she said.
Elections to 294 Assembly seats in West Bengal are due in April-May. PTI