It is 3-0 this election season in West Bengal between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
New Delhi: This election is less about TMC vs BJP in Bengal as much as it is about Mamata vs Modi. Every political googly delivered is being returned with a Yorker. With West Bengal being on top of the BJP's agenda and Mamata not ready to let a single seat slip away to the saffron side, it has not only been a closely fought electoral battle on the grounds but also in terms of rhetorics. The gloves are off in this clash of words between the country's two top leaders.
Mamata Banerjee said, "I feel like giving a slap of democracy" (on Narendra Modi's face) very recently. She was reacting to Modi's allegation that TMC is a party of 'tolabaz' (extortionist). But on Thursday, Narendra Modi answered back. In classic Modi avatar, that has been true since his days as the Gandhinagar chief minister, he once again turned the attack on him into a political weapon. "I heard Didi (Mamata) has said that she wants to slap me. Her slap will be a blessing for me", said the Prime Minister to a packed audience in Purulia on Thursday. But not before adding, "But may I ask you why you didn't slap those who cheated lakhs of poor in chit fund scams? Why don't you slap those who run TTT- Trinamool, Tolabaji, Tax?"
The Sandesh that was not so sweet
Another ping pong match ensued when Modi accepted Mamata Banerjee sends her sweets and kurta every year, leaving Mamata stuck in a tricky spot. This is highly embarrassing for a leader to be seen in a bonhomie after targeting said person day in and out this political season. She had to explain her stand in many rallies after that claiming her courtesy is being used against her by the PM. But, then came the shocker. She threatened to send Prime Minister Narendra Modi sweets filled with rocks. What's the purpose? To break his teeth!
WB CM in Asansol: Modi didn't come to Bengal earlier and in elections he needs votes from Bengal. We will give him rasgulla from Bengal. We will make sweets from soil and put pebbles in it similarly like cashew nuts & raisins are used in laddu, that will break teeth. pic.twitter.com/5QsdNgQ9lh— ANI (@ANI) April 26, 2019
While it was seen to be Mamata's way of answering Modi, the PM was not ready to let it go. During a rally, Modi replied, "I have heard Mamata di wants to send me sweets with rocks. Even sweets with rocks from Bengal will be a prasad for me".
To 'Jai Shri Ram' or not?
While on the way to Chandrakona, some seemingly BJP supporter shouted 'Jai Shri Ram' at Mamata. But the leader with her quick instinct, rather than brushing past, she ordered the cavalcade to a halt. Not only did she come out of her car but in a video that has ever since gone viral, she is seen asking," "Why are you running away? Why abuse?"
Bengal, over the past two years, has witnessed an unprecedented saffron surge. And with a high pitched electoral battle going on, this video where she appears to be questioning the 'Jai Shri Ram' chant only added fuel to the fire in the tinderbox that Bengal is. What made things worse is Mamata adding later on in another event that chanting 'Jai Shri Ram' is not core to the Bengali value system. Modi latched on to the opportunity and hit back hard, "It has become a fashion for communists to use derogatory language against the Hindu religion".
Daring Mamata to arrest him, he said, "Didi has thrown people in jail for chanting 'Jai Shi Ram'. I thought of saying Jai Shri Ram here today so that she can throw me inside jail too. That way, the people of Bengal might be protected from the wrath of the TMC regime".
Two more phases to go, more barbs are in the offing. The clash of words between Modi and Mamata is surely not over, as yet. The match is on. But it's Modi 3, Mamata 0.
Last Updated May 9, 2019, 4:12 PM IST