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Will build Vidyasagar statue: PM; Don’t want BJP alms: Didi


LUCKNOW/KOLKATA: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, locked in a blame game with Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee over the vandalisation of a bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar at a college in Kolkata during Amit Shah’s rally on Tuesday, promised on Thursday to install a “grand statue” of the Bengali icon at the same spot. Banerjee promptly rejected the offer, refusing to cede any poll advantage to BJP in the last phase of election, campaigning for which ended on Thursday in her state.
At a rally in Uttar Pradesh, Modi said, “Dedicated to the vision of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, our government will install a panchdhatu (five metals) statue at the very spot as a fitting response to Trinamool Congress goondas.”
Campaigning in Kolkata later in the evening, the PM said, “Vidyasagar, wherever he is, might be watching which party is working to preserve Bengal’s glory and which one is granting refuge to infiltrators.”
Banerjee 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 at a rally in Mathurapur in Bengal’s South 24 Parganas district.
Mamata was rancorous in her attack against BJP president Amit Shah. “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.

“It is unfortunate but true that the Election Commission is BJP’s brother. I don’t mind if EC takes exception to my saying so and puts me behind bars. I am ready for that,” Mamata said.
“People in Bengal will teach Mamata Banerjee a lesson in democracy . Didi and her nephew [Abhishek Banerjee] have turned the state into their jagir (fief). 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.
Hitting out at Mamata for her “arrogance”, Modi said: “I saw in the media that Didi has threatened to put our party workers behind bars. She had even threatened to take control of our party offices. Didi, win and loss are all part of the game in democracy. You shouldn’t be afraid of it and face the truth. People of Bengal had brought you to power with love. They are now disgusted with you.”
Modi told the crowd about the “goondacracy” in Bengal which he believes has thrown a spanner on the state’s development. “Didi doesn’t recognise the PM of India but she has all love for the PM of Pakistan. She is running a syndicate of tolabaji along with her nephew and has pulled the brakes on development in the state,” the BJP leader said.
Not only that, the PM accused Mamata Banerjee of putting her own “sticker” on all the central projects. “But she should have taken the work seriously,” the PM said.

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