Lucknow/Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has rejected Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s offer to install a new bust of social reformer Pandit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar at the same spot where it was vandalised saying that Bengal has the money for it. Didi said Bengal did not need “BJP’s money” and that her state had enough in its coffers to rebuild the statue. “We do not seek alms from BJP,” she said unwilling to cede any poll advantage to BJP at a rally in Mathurapur in Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district.
Prime Minister Modi, who was locked in a blame game with Mamata over the vandalisation of a bust of Vidyasagar at a college in Kolkata during Amit Shah’s rally last week, promised to install a “grand statue” of the Bengali icon at the same spot. At a rally in UP, Modi said, “Dedicated to the vision of Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar, our government will install a panchdhatu (five metals) statue at the very spot as a fitting response to Trinamool Congress goondas.”
He accused the CM of putting her own “sticker” on all the central projects.“People in Bengal will teach Mamata a lesson in democracy. Didi and her nephew (Abhishek Banerjee) have turned the state into their jagir (fiefdom). Trinamool goondas have taken the state to hell over the past three days. Those who smashed Vidyasagar’s bust did a grave wrong. They should be taken to task. The state government is trying its best to wipe the evidence of violence as it did for Narada and Saradha and other chit fund scams. It shows to what extent Didi can go to protect her vote bank,” said the PM.
Violence at Amit Shah's rally
Streets of Kolkata plunged into a welter of violence as Amit Shah's convoy was attacked with stones by alleged TMC supporters from inside the hostel of Vidyasagar College, triggering a clash between supporters of the two parties. However, Shah escaped unhurt but was forced to cut short the jamboree and had to be escorted to safety by police.
Furious BJP supporters retaliated and were seen exchanging blows with their TMC rivals outside the college entrance. Several motorcycles parked outside were vandalised and set ablaze. Shards of broken glass littered the lobby of the college where a bust of Vidyasagar was smashed to smithereens. Police personnel were seen trying to douse the fire with buckets filled with water. Contingents of Kolkata police deployed for the roadshow swung into action and were seen dispelling the warring groups.
"There was an attempt by TMC hooligans to attack me. Mamata tried to provoke violence. But I am safe," Shah said. He claimed that he was forced to deviate from the planned route and was saddened as he could not reach at Swami Vivekananda's house to pay tribute.
Hitting back to the allegations, Mamata called the BJP president a "goonda". “Amit goonda and his party are spreading fake videos to spread tension. This man has insulted Bengal. He has said Bangal is kangal (impoverished). How dare he? He has also announced he will initiate NRC exercise in Bengal to identify infiltrators. I will drive you out of the country,” the CM said.