The BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi stirred up a hornet’s nest in West Bengal on Sunday evening with two carefully placed stones — need to spot who bought TMC chief Mamata Banerjee’s painting for Rs 1.80 crore and all illegal immigrants from Bangladesh should pack their bags and go.
Next day, all hell broke loose — as Modi probably expected — with the CM labelling him as “a devil and a blood-thirsty rioter”, Saradha chit fund boss Sudipta Sen — now in jail for the Rs 20,000-crore scam — swearing that he did not buy the painting and the TMC threatening Modi with a defamation suit.
The Congress and the Left also joined the fray. Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma told the media in Kolkata: “If some people committed a crime, they must be punished irrespective of the parties they belong to. Banerjee’s logic is actually ridiculous.”
“It seems that the TMC now has to depend on certificates from a scamster,” said Sujan Chakraborty, Jadavpore CPM candidate. BJP state president Rahul Sinha added, “It may also be the case that Sen is threatened and forced to say all this.”
Banerjee spewed venom at the state secretariat later in the evening: “After shedding blood in Gujarat, does he want to unleash a bloodbath in Bengal? He said he would drive them (Bangladesh infiltrators) away. Who’s he to say all this?”
Earlier, Sen spoke to the media on his way out of the Justice Shyamal Sen Commission’s offices, announcing: “I have not bought any painting. I do not know who bought the paintings.”
Meanwhile, a TMC loyalist lawyer sent a legal notice to Modi, demanding that if he didn’t withdraw his statement in 48 hours, legal and criminal proceedings would be initiated against him.
Mukul Roy, all India general secretary of the TMC, “Many people wanted to buy her paintings for a huge price. We did not sell her paintings at such high prices.”