West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a public rally in Hoogly, on Monday. (PTI)
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addresses a public rally in Hoogly, on Monday. (PTI)

BJP has insulted Bengal and Netaji, says Mamata Banerjee

  • The BJP and the TMC have been engaged in a tug-of-war over Bengal’s icons with both laying claims to Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda and Subhash Chandra Bose.
PUBLISHED ON JAN 25, 2021 07:57 PM IST

Sharpening her attack against the Bharaitya Janata Party over the Victoria Memorial controversy of January 23, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee said on Monday that it was an insult to Bengal and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

“If you (BJP) had raised slogans on Netaji I would have saluted you. But what you did was an insult to Bengal and Netaji,” she said at a public rally in Hooghly district.

This was Banerjee’s first rally after Saturday’s controversy when she refused to speak at an official event attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Victoria Memorial to mark the beginning of the celebrations of Netaji’s 125th birth anniversary after Jai Shri Ram slogans were raised just before the chief minister was to start her address.

“They were taunting me in front of the Prime Minister. But they don’t know me. If a motherly woman requests me to wash the utensils at her home I would do that because I love to do homely chores. But if you show me a gun, I would show you a safe full of guns,”

The BJP hit back saying that Banerjee simply cannot stand the slogan Jai Shri Ram.

“Chanting Jai Shri Ram is not a crime. What she did reflects her mindset. And what more replies she wants to give. She is replying every day,” said Samik Bhattacharya, BJP spokesperson in the state.

While Banerjee was taking on the BJP in Hooghly, the city’s intellectuals held a protest rally in Kolkata against the BJP for Saturday’s incident.

“You can insult me. I won’t get blisters but don’t insult Bengal. Bengali film actresses are being threatened that would be raped if they go out of Bengal,” the chief minister said at the rally

With the crucial assembly elections just round the corner, the BJP and the TMC are engaged in a tug-of-war over Bengal’s icons. The Bharatiya Janata Party, which is hoping to unseat the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) government in the state, and the latter have both laid claim to Bengali icons Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda and Bose.

Banerjee also sent a strong signal to rebels within the party and said that some people were leaving the party as the TMC had decided not to field them as candidates in the elections.

“Those of you who have lined up (to quit the party) leave at the earliest. Else you will miss the train. Bengal doesn’t need you. TMC doesn’t need you. I don’t care. TMC wouldn’t have given you tickets to contest the elections and so you are leaving in fear,” she said while adding that those who are leaving the TMC had amassed huge wealth and are joining the BJP to hide those

At least three ministers and a few legislators have resigned recently while a few others have expressed their disgruntlement against the party’s leadership. Some have already joined the BJP.

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