West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday hit back at the Bharatiya Janata Party, saying that it should be renamed as “Bharat Jalao Party” (party that sets India on fire), the Hindustan Times reported.
Speaking at a rally at Pursura town in West Bengal’s Hooghly district, Banerjee also raked up the incident of people chanting “Jai Shri Ram” during her speech at an event on Saturday, to mark the birth anniversary of freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose, ANI reported. Following the incident, Banerjee had refused to speak at the event at Kolkata’s Victoria Memorial, saying she felt insulted by the slogans.
“I went to their programme and some aggressive, religious fanatics teased me in front of the prime minister,” she said. “They do not know me...If you show me a gun, I can show you an armoury. But I don’t believe in politics by the gun.”
She said that the incident was an insult to Bose and accused the BJP of demeaning other icons in the past as well.
“Had you chanted Neta ji’s [Bose] name, I would have saluted you,” the chief minister said. “But what you did was an insult to Neta ji and Bengal. In the past you have named the birthplace of [Rabindranath] Tagore wrong. You have destroyed [Ishwar Chandra] Vidyasagar’s statue. You garlanded a wrong statue thinking it was [Santhal rebellion leader] Birsa Munda.”
Banerjee also touched upon the matter of a number of her party leaders and legislators joining the BJP, and asked them to leave sooner than later.
“Trinamool will only give tickets who have worked for the people,” she said, according to the Hindustan Times. “Many people are leaving TMC and joining the BJP, anticipating this. Those who are in queue, I urge them to go quickly.”
Last month, after a long drawn period of public dissatisfaction, one of its most prominent leaders Suvendu Adhikari joined the BJP during Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the state, along with six other party MLAs. Since then, two ministers, Laxmiratan Shukla and Rajib Banerjee have quit their posts from the state Cabinet, while another MLA Baishali Dalmiya, has been expelled from Trinamool Congress for criticising the party publicly.