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Friday, Dec 13, 2019

‘Prove the charge or do 100 sit-ups holding ears’: Mamata on PM Modi’s coal mafia remark

The latest round came after the two exchanged barbs earlier this week, with Banerjee saying on Tuesday that when PM Modi comes to Bengal and alleges tolabazi (extortion), she feels like giving him “a slap of democracy,” raising her right hand in a motion of slapping.

india Updated: May 09, 2019 19:12 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during an election meeting at kotsila in Purulia district on Wednesday.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during an election meeting at kotsila in Purulia district on Wednesday. (ANI photo)
         

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s war of words reached new heights on Thursday with PM Modi alleging that Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders in Purulia and Bankura were working as coal mafias and Banerjee hitting back by asking the Prime Minister to do 100 sit-ups holding his ears if he is proved wrong.

The latest round came after the two exchanged barbs earlier this week, with Banerjee saying on Tuesday that when PM Modi comes to Bengal and alleges tolabazi (extortion), she feels like giving him “a slap of democracy,” raising her right hand in a motion of slapping.

“Didi said she wants to slap Modi. Didi, I respect you as an elder sister. Your slap will be a blessing for me. But I would like to say that if you really had the courage to slap those who took away chit fund money, you would not have been so scared today,” PM Modi said on Thursday, while addressing an election rally in Bengal’s Bankura district.

“Didi’s frustration can be measured from her language. I am used to abuses, but Didi is even insulting the Constitution. She is publicly saying that she is not ready to recognize the country’s Prime Minister. However, she is proud to recognize Pakistan’s Prime Minister,” PM Modi claimed.

“She is such an egotist that she does not want to talk to the country’s Prime Minister,” he said.

Incidentally, Banerjee has been referring to PM Modi as ‘Expiry Babu’ and ‘Expiry Prime Minister’ and even refused to talk to PM Modi, when he tried to contact her to inquire about the impact of Cyclone Fani in coastal Bengal. Banerjee later argued that Modi is merely heading a caretaker government.

What irked the West Bengal CM most on Thursday was the prime minister’s allegation that she had sacrificed the interests of the people to protect the interests of her family members and corrupt party leaders.

“Didi first ruined Bengal with her addiction for power. Now she is ruining it further in the fear of losing power. She cares only for her chair, her family, her nephew the extortionists and no one else,” PM Modi alleged.

“The TMC has made mafias part of the government,” he claimed, adding, “Didi is busy building her nephew’s career.”

Responding in a couple of hours, Banerjee thundered from a rally in the same district, “If you can prove even one TMC candidate is a coal mafia, I shall withdraw all 42 candidates. But if you have lied, you will have to hold your ears and do 100 sit-ups before the people.”

“Coal is administered by the Centre. It is guarded by the CISF. BJP men are the agents. How can TMC men be coal mafia? You have to explain,” she said.

Both PM Modi and Banerjee addressed rallies in Bankura and Purulia districts on Thursday. The prime minister alleged at both rallies that TMC was linked with the coal mafia.

Sharpening her attack on PM Modi from the Bankura rally, the West Bengal CM said that PM Modi “looks like Ravana and rules like Duryodhana”.

“Don’t accuse my family. I am alone, the people are my family. You have your wife, but do you take care of her? You don’t care for your wife and you speak about the families of others? Don’t you have any shame?” she asked.

Banerjee also invited PM Modi to a debate. “I challenge PM Modi to a debate on India’s history. There will be no papers or teleprompters. You will ask me questions to which I shall reply, and I shall ask you questions, to which you have to respond.”

Explaining her ‘slap’ remark from a rally at Purulia later in the day, she said, “I have never told you that I shall slap you. Why should I slap you? I have said slap of democracy, please try to understand the language. People will defeat you in the elections. That is the slap of democracy.”