Prime Minister Narendra Modi claimed on Thursday that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has threatened to imprison him, as she is frustrated by the Trinamool Congress’ “imminent defeat” in the Lok Sabha elections.
“Just today morning, she threatened to send me to jail,” Modi claimed at a rally in Matharpur town in West Bengal. “Yesterday, I saw on media channels that Didi [Banerjee] has threatened to take over the offices and homes of Bharatiya Janata Party workers.”
The prime minister said that the people of Bengal have decided to defeat Banerjee. “In elections, victory and defeat are normal,” he said. “Once, the people of Bengal gave you a lot of love. Today, they want to get rid of you.”
Modi claimed that while Banerjee does not consider him as the prime minister of India, she continuously praises Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. “She imprisons the youth, the daughters of Bengal on any pretext,” he said. “But she has given free reign to illegal immigrants and traitors.”
The prime minister alleged that Trinamool Congress goons vandalised the statue of Bengali writer and reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar on Tuesday. He claimed that the West Bengal Police is trying to destroy evidence of the desecration of the statue by Trinamool Congress workers.
Modi said Banerjee has pasted “stickers” of her party on every central government scheme. “Sticker Didi, I don’t mind the stickers,” he said. “But at least do your work properly, for the country, for the poor. At least have this much honesty.”
The prime minister claimed that while roads are being built speedily in the rest of the country, the situation is bad in Bengal.
Modi said that the Centre will set up a separate fisheries ministry for fisherpeople. “On the one hand, we are trying to make life easier for the people,” Modi said. “On the other hand, the Trinamool Congress is making your life difficult with its violence.”
In a tangential reference to alleged rigging, Modi said the people should press the button on the electronic voting machine themselves, instead of allowing someone else to do it for them.
Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal are being held in all seven phases. On Wednesday, the Election Commission said campaigning in nine seats in the state will end at 10 pm on Thursday. Ordinarily, campaigning for these seats would have ended on Friday. The poll panel took the decision after violence at BJP National President Amit Shah’s rally in Kolkata on Tuesday. It was during this rally that Vidyasagar’s statue was vandalised.
On Thursday, Modi offered to rebuild the statue, an offer Banerjee rejected. She said the state has enough resources for reconstruction.
However, Banerjee criticised the Election Commission, claiming that the poll panel is full of workers of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. She also called the order unconstitutional and unethical.