“I went to their programme and some aggressive, fanatic traitors dared to tease me in front of the PM. They don’t know me. If you point a gun at me I will show you the armoury. But I don’t believe in practising politics of the gun,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday lashed out at the BJP, accusing it of insulting Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose by raising “Jai Shri Ram” slogans at an event held at Victoria Memorial here on two days ago to mark the iconic freedom fighter’s 124th birth anniversary.
Saying that the BJP should be christened the “Bharat Jalao Party”, Banerjee told the audience at a public meeting in Hooghly district’s Pursura area, “I went to their programme and some aggressive, fanatic traitors dared to tease me in front of the PM. They don’t know me. If you point a gun at me I will show you the armoury. But I don’t believe in practising politics of the gun.”
The chief minister said, “Would you invite anyone to your house and then insult the person? Is this the culture of Bengal or our country? I would have had no problem if slogans hailing Netaji were raised. But they didn’t do that. To taunt me, they shouted slogans that had no relation to the programme. I was insulted in front of the prime minister of the country. This is their [BJP] culture.”
Accusing the Opposition party of insulting Bengal’s icons such as Rabindranath Tagore, Netaji, Birsa Munda and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, the TMC chairperson said, “You have insulted Netaji. You have named the birthplace of Tagore wrong. You have destroyed Vidyasagar’s statue. You garlanded a wrong statue thinking it was Birsa Munda.”
At Saturday’s event, the chief minister was caught unawares as some members of the audience started shouting “Jai Shri Ram”. She refused to give her speech, saying, “I feel a government programme should have some dignity. This is a government programme, not the programme of a political party…This is a public programme. I thank the Prime Minister and the Culture Ministry for organising the programme in Kolkata. But it doesn’t behove you to humiliate a person after extending an invitation.”
On Sunday, the CPI(M) and the Congress also condemned the incident, saying the chief minister of the state should not have been insulted. Former TMC MP Kabir Suman staged a protest in Kolkata’s Gariahat area to condemn the incident, while the ruling party’s workers held protests across the state. In Birbhum’s Dubrajpur, a bike rally was organised, while tyres were set on fire in Durgapur in Paschim Bardhaman district. In Hooghly’s Baidyabati area, the TMC organised a rally.
Meanwhile, in Pursura, Mamata Banerjee hit out at the former TMC leaders who have joined the saffron party. Without naming Suvendu Adhikari and other such leaders, she said they had “money to hide”. On Sunday, her nephew and Diamond Harbour MP Abhishek Banerjee had accused Adhikari of accepting Rs 6-crore bribe from Saradha scam accused Sudipta Sen.
According to sources in the BJP, more former TMC leaders, including former ministers Rajib Banerjee and Laxmiratan Shukla and many MLAs, are likely to join the party this month.
Lashing out at potential defectors, Banerjee said those planning to leave the TMC should do it as soon as possible as the party does not need them. “Those who are lining up to leave the Trinamool Congress should leave as early as possible. Bengal and TMC do not need you. The party would not have given them tickets anyway, so they are leaving in fear,” added the chief minister.
Banerjee said, “The TMC will honour those who are honourable, and those who have left now won’t be taken back.”
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