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Lok Sabha elections 2019: Vidyasagar bust dominates last day of Modi, Mamata campaign

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee locked horns over the vandalisation of a bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.

lok sabha elections Updated: May 17, 2019 07:27 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Kolkata
Mamata campaign,Modi campaign,Vidyasagar bust
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee continued to lock horns over the vandalisation of a bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.(PTI)

With campaigning coming to an end on Thursday 10 pm, instead of Friday 5 pm due to a Wednesday Election Commission order, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee continued to lock horns over the vandalisation of a bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.

On Thursday, Modi spoke at two public meetings in Mathurapur (South 24 Parganas district) and Dumdum (North 24 Parganas). Trinamool Congress supremo Banerjee addressed two meetings in Mathurapur and Diamond Harbour constituencies (in South 24 Parganas) and held three padayatras (rallies on foot) in different parts of Kolkata during the day, covering 15 km.

Modi, who visited the state after holding rallies in Uttar Pradesh, alleged that the Plaster of Paris bust, located inside the Vidyasagar College, was vandalised by “TMC goondas”,and offered to build another, bigger statue.

“TMC goons are spreading violence, and they vandalised the statue of Vidyasagar. The way the state government erased proof of the Narada and Sarada scams, in the same manner, it is trying to remove evidence in this incident,” Modi claimed.

“Bengal does not seek alms from BJP. We have the money for a new bust of Vidyasagar, who was part of Bengal Renaissance. Don’t you (BJP) feel ashamed saying that Bengal has been reduced to a state of being a pauper?” Banerjee asked at a rally in Mandirbazar. The Left and Congress mainly held small meetings and door-to-door campaigns.

Amal Mukherjee, political scientist and former principal of Presidency College, said, “Desperation on both sides (TMC and BJP) is the only reason for the bitter campaign. The chief minister has vowed to win all 42 seats, so that she could emerge as a king-maker in Delhi. But BJP has to keep TMC’s seats at a minimum so that an anti-BJP coalition becomes weak.”

Polling will be held in nine constituencies of south Bengal on Sunday. A total 710 companies of central forces are being deployed by the EC to cover polling booths.

(With inputs from agencies)

First Published: May 17, 2019 07:27 IST