West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday joined the forceful anti-Modi attack launched by her partymen, labeling BJP's PM nominee "a bloodthirsty rioter".
Trinamool Congress suporters wear Mamata Banerjee's mask at election campaign in support of party candidate Sudip Bandyopadhyay in Kolkata on Saturday. (PTI Photo)
One of the most vitriolic political exchanges of this election was triggered by Modi when he suggested that one of Mamata's paintings was bought for Rs. 1.8 crore by Sudipto Sen, who is a key accused in the Saradha ponzi scam.
Thousands of poor investors had lost their lifetime savings in the scam, which has emerged as the hottest poll issue in the state.
Sen, who is in jail, however, said he did not buy any of Mamata's paintings. He spoke to reporters while coming out of the office of justice Shyamal Sen Commission, which is probing the scam.
A fuming Mamata said, "He (Modi) is polarising Bengalis and non-Bengalis. After shedding blood in Gujarat, does he want to unleash bloodbath in Bengal. He does not know history. He said that he would drive them (read Muslims infiltrators from Bangladesh) away with bag and baggage. Who's he to say all this?" said Mamata on Monday evening at the state secretariat.
Mamata said that she did not need 'gyan' from Modi on development.
"If he comes to power, India will plunge into darkness. We do not need gyan (lecture) on development from the architect of riots," Mamata wrote on Twitter.
"The man who is being projected as PM candidate, if he comes to power, India will be ruined," she said.
Earlier in the day, the TMC sought an apology from Narendra Modi and called him an "arrogant, authoritarian and snobbish" leader.
Mukul Roy, TMC's all-India general secretary, said at a press conference in Kolkata, "Either prove that Mamata Banerjee's painting was sold for Rs. 1.8 crore or apologise publicly. We have already written to the EC (Election Commission) since this is a violation of model code of conduct. We will soon file a defamation case against him."
Roy was accompanied by party colleagues Amit Mitra and Derek O'Brien, who had termed Modi the "Butcher of Gujarat" a day ago.
Roy added, "… we did not sell paintings at such high prices." However, the TMC leaders did not reveal who bought the doodles done by Banerjee.
Opening a new front against former BJP ally Mamata, Modi had alleged she had done more harm to the state in 34 months than what the Left did in 34 years.
The EC has directed the Hooghly district magistrate to supply a video of Modi's Sunday speech at Srirampore along with a transcript. But poll panel officials clarified that they routinely ask for these copies after major rallies.
The CPI(M) joined the controversy, with its Jadavpore candidate Sujan Chakraborty saying "TMC stooped so low that it has to seek certificate from a scamster like Sudipto Sen".
Echoing Chakraborty's remarks, state BJP president Rahul Sinha said, "What is the value of the word of the accused? Trinamool is depending on him to save its skin."
Congress leader Anand Sharma said if some people commit a crime, they must be punished irrespective of their party affiliations.
"Banerjee's logic is actually ridiculous," said Sharma.