Kolkata/Kolaghat (WB): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday lashed out at the opposition and more specifically at TMC’s record of violent local body polls, prompting an equally fiery response from West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee castigating the ruling party for lack of action on Manipur.
Speaking virtually at a function organised by his party, at Kolaghat, a fishing town 70 km from Kolkata, Modi accused opposition parties of “running away” from the Lok Sabha during a debate on the no-confidence motion and said his government has countered the “negativity being spread” by them across the country.
The Prime Minister also attacked the TMC which worsted his party in panchayat polls held recently, terming it a “Khooni Khela (bloody game)” where victory was secured by the use of “terror and threats” to intimidate the opposition.
“Recently, panchayat elections were held in Bengal. The entire country saw TMC’s khooni khel (bloody game). Violence has been used as a means to threaten the opposition. The TMC looted votes. But despite this, the love of the people of Bengal has led to the victory of BJP candidates,” he said.
PM Modi also claimed that those who act as “champions of democracy and question EVM” had “undermined” the democratic process in Bengal.
“The TMC did everything to ensure that the BJP candidate can’t file nomination. They threatened not only BJP workers but also the voters,” the PM alleged.
Reacting sharply to the PM’s speech, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee in a recorded message to the media asked him to “behave” instead of maligning Bengal..
“The Prime Minister and the BJP should not talk about West Bengal. He did not take action against his own corrupt party leaders and those involved in character assassination, atrocities on women, atrocities on wrestlers and atrocities in Manipur.
“The BJP killed 15-16 people during rural polls in Bengal. You must behave properly instead of giving indulgence to such people,” the TMC supremo said.
Party spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said it seems the Prime Minister is yet to accept his party’s defeat in the 2021 assembly polls.
“It seems the Prime Minister is yet to accept his party’s defeat in the 2021 assembly. His remarks against West Bengal and TMC reflected BJP’s deep-rooted hatred for the state’s people,” he claimed.
The prime minister who addressed his party workers at BJP’s Panchayati Raj Parishad in West Bengal also accused the opposition of “not being serious” about the discussion on Manipur as “it would have hurt them the most”.
“Only two days back, we had defeated the opposition’s no-confidence motion in Parliament. We had also defeated the negativity being spread by them. The whole country has seen the opposition running away from the House. Unfortunately, they betrayed the people of Manipur,” he said.
The no-confidence motion against the Modi government was defeated through a voice vote in the Lok Sabha on Thursday after opposition MPs staged a walkout.
He said an opportunity to find solutions through debates in Parliament could not be utilised as the opposition parties “prioritised their politics over people’s welfare”.
“Had there been a discussion on such a sensitive subject, the people of Manipur would have felt relieved. Some solutions would have emerged to address that issue.
“But the opposition parties did not want to discuss it as they knew that the truth of Manipur would sting them the most,” PM Modi said at the BJP event.
In an apparent reference to the PM’s claims, Banerjee retorted the Centre has “not taken any action against those involved in unleashing atrocities in Manipur”.
Notably, more than 160 people lost their lives, and several hundred were injured since the ethnic clashes broke out in Manipur in the first week of May.
News reports have since then poured in of gang rapes and ethnic cleansing with whole villages and urban localities being burnt down. .
Banerjee also said that “Prime Minister Narendra Modi can’t speak on corruption” as his government was facing allegations of graft “in PM Care funds, Rafale deal and demonetisation”.
She was apparently referring to Modi’s comments made earlier in the day while addressing the G20 Anti-Corruption Ministerial Meet here, where he said India has a strict zero-tolerance policy against corruption. .
Later, in another audio statement, Banerjee said just like Mahatma Gandhi’s call for Quit India movement against British rule, in the present times, the slogan of ‘BJP Quit India’ is reverberating across the nation.
“We want the BJP to be ousted. We are not asking their leaders to leave the country; they should be out of power. BJP quit India. INDIA (opposition bloc) will defeat the saffron party,” she said.