Prime Minister Narendra Modi, campaigning in West Bengal today as parts of the state voted in the second round of elections, said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was nervous about losing in Nandigram – the most high-profile constituency to vote in this phase – and suggested that she was desperate enough to consider a second constituency.
“Didi, is there any truth in the rumour that you are going to file your nomination from another constituency? First you went there (Nandigram) and people gave you an answer. If you go somewhere else, people of Bengal are ready to give you the right answer,” said PM Modi, campaigning in Joynagar at South 24 Paraganas in Bengal .
About 60 km away in Nandigram, Mamata Banerjee had a tense day as she was confined at a polling booth for nearly two hours because of a face-off between supporters of her Trinamool Congress and the BJP.
The Chief Minister faces one of her toughest poll contests in Nandigram, where her BJP rival is her former aide Suvendu Adhikari.
PM Modi said Mamata Banerjee was “afraid of losing”, so was forced to camp in Nandigram. “Didi left Bhawanipore (her constituency in Kolkata) to go to Nandigram. Then she realised her mistake in coming here. Didi is forced to camp in Nandigram for three days,” he jibed.
Responding to the PM’s comments, Trinamool sources said the question of Ms Banerjee contesting another seat did not arise. “She is winning Nandigram comfortably,” said the sources.
PM Modi also mocked the Bengal Chief Minister’s letter to various opposition leaders on Wednesday calling for a united fight against the BJP, saying she “calls everyone outsiders, now she is appealing to them”.
He went on to accuse Mamata Banerjee of “not liking the Jai Shri Ram chant, the tilak and saffron clothes” and having a “problem” with the immersion of Goddess Durga.
“Trinamool is not cool, it is shool (thorn). Didi says thanda thanda cool cool. The khela (game) of blood will not work,” said PM Modi, once again raising allegations of a Trinamool role in the killing of BJP workers in Bengal. A BJP wave was blowing across Bengal, he said, adding that the party would win over 200 of the state’s 294 assembly seats.
Responding to the PM’s comments on Mamata Banerjee contemplating fighting from another seat because she was nervous about Nandigram, Trinamool sources said the question of another seat did not arise. “She is winning Nandigram comfortably,” said the sources.
The Prime Minister also responded for the first time to the Trinamool Congress accusing him of violating the poll code with his recent trip to Bangladesh in the middle of elections. The Trinamool has complained to the Election Commission that the PM’s visit to Bangladesh, where he prayed at an iconic Kali temple and addressed members of the Matua community, was “unethical” and aimed at influencing voters in neighbouring Bengal. The Matuas, a Dalit community, are said to have considerable influence in several districts of West Bengal.
“Didi did not like me praying at the Ma Kali temple in Bangladesh. Our faith in Gods is not seasonal like it is for Mamata Banerjee. We always take pride in our faith and tradition,” said the PM.
“I visited one of the 51 Shaktipeeth Jeshoreshwari Kali temple in Bangladesh. TMC has taken offence. Is it wrong to pay obeisance to Shri Harichand Thakur (founder of the Matua sect) at Orakandi?”