Mamata Banerjee and Arvind Kejriwal, the chief ministers of West Bengal and Delhi, joined their Andhra Pradesh counterpart N Chandrababu Naidu at a rally organised by his Telugu Desam Party in Visakhapatnam on Sunday. All three leaders used the opportunity to attack the Narendra Modi-led central government.
Banerjee challenged the prime minister to an open debate while Naidu called him a “chowkidar of criminals”, and Kejriwal likened the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government to a tumour and Germany’s Adolf Hitler.
The rally was part of Naidu’s campaign to get elected chief minister again. Andhra Pradesh is one of the states that will have Assembly elections along with the Lok Sabha elections on April 11.
Banerjee asked Modi for a debate on “one of your own channels but without phones and teleprompters”, The Indian Express reported. “You ask questions I answer and I ask questions you answer,” she said.
“Who is Modi to ask about our prime ministerial candidate?” the Trinamool Congress leader said, according to the Hindustan Times. “We know how to elect our leader. There will be somebody who will lead the country.”
Banerjee claimed the BJP will not get a single seat in West Bengal and not more than 125 seats nationally, PTI reported. She urged the party’s sister organisations not to support Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah “if they love the country”. “This is a special election,” she said. “There are not many people to fight for the country, please vote for Chandrababu Naidu. Modi and Shah bully everyone.”
She criticised Modi for not addressing a single press conference during his tenure, and called him a chowkidar who “lies to people round the clock and steals from them”.
Arvind Kejriwal claimed that Modi and Shah had divided India on religious lines in the past five years. “Since India’s Independence in 1947, Pakistan has been trying to divide India on religious lines,” Kejriwal said. “What Pakistan could not do in 70 years, Modi-Shah duo did in five.”
He claimed there was an Emergency-like situation in India and that the government was using central agencies against citizens. “Hitler changed the constitution of Germany after coming to power and ruled until his death,” he said. “Modi and Shah would do the same in India.”
Kejriwal added: “Some people ask me if not Modi who...My reply to those people is simple, if you develop tumour in your body, will you remove it or ask if not tumour, who?”