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News18 Daybreak | Mamata, Modi Engage in War of Words over Bengal and Other Stories You Need to Watch out For

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Updated:May 17, 2019, 8:44 AM IST

Today's Big Stories

In Bengal, Mamata Banerjee & PM Modi engage in war of words as bitter poll campaign ends

Kolkata police have set up a five-member Special Investigation Team to probe into the vandalism of a bust of social reformer Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar.

The team was constituted even as PM Narendra Modi and Mamata Banerjee continued to trade charges over the incidence of violence and vandalism in Kolkata’s Vidyasagar College during the rally of BJP chief Amit Shah on Tuesday.

The Bengal faceoff: The PM, in his last poll rally in the state in the ongoing elections, trained his guns against the Mamata Banerjee-led government claiming TMC’s hand in the desecration of the statue.

"They (the TMC) vandalized Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's statue. We are committed to Vidyasagar's vision and will install his grand statue at the same spot,” he said just hours before the poll panel ban on campaigning came into effect.

Mamata Banerjee also hit back at Modi saying the Bengal does not need money from the BJP to rebuild the Vidyasagar statue, which she said was destroyed by the saffron party. The TMC supremo even led a protest march against the BJP.

Allies-in-arms: Several opposition party leaders rallied behind Mamata Banerjee and slammed the EC’s decision to cut short the duration of poll campaign in the state. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati also held the BJP responsible for the violence saying that Bengal will give a fitting response to the BJP.

Meanwhile the EC issued a clarification after it came under attack over the time of the ban.

In Other News

Former Kolkata top cop, sent to Delhi by EC, says personal issue led to delay in reporting at MHA

Former Kolkata police chief Rajeev Kumar, who was relieved by the Election Commission from his duty as additional director general of the CID in West Bengal, did not turn up at the Home Ministry in Delhi where he was supposed to reach by 10 am on Thursday.

Amid US-China heat over trade deal, Trump blacklists telecom giant Huawei

President Trump has issued an executive order aimed at banning equipment from Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from US networks. China in response slammed the decision and said it will take steps to protect its companies.

Saudi Arabian defence minister accuses Iran of ordering drone attack on oil installations

Vice Minister of Defense Prince Khalid bin Salman, accused Iran of ordering an attack on Saudi oil installations that Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi militia has claimed responsibility for. "These militias are merely a tool that Iran uses," he said.

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar lookalike spotted campaigning for BJP candidate in Kolkata

Amid the Mamata-Modi fight playing out in West Bengal over the desecration of a statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, a lookalike was spotted campaigning for the BJP. Here's what happened.

News18 Election Tracker

BJP’s Bhopal candidate Pragya Thakur has kicked up another storm after she termed Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin, Nathuram Godse, a patriot. She was finally compelled into apologising after several from even the BJP camp issued statements in condemnation. “The party’s line is my line,” she said.

Leaders of the opposition parties denounced Thakur's comments saying that she had implicatively called Mahatma Gandhi an anti-national. Thakur’s main contender, Digvijaya Singh, has demanded a further apology from Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and the BJP.

In what seems to be a subtle message to allies, Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad has said that a consensus for the top post before the results of the Lok Sabha elections would be welcomed but the party would not make it an issue if the prime minister’s chair was not offered to it.

Meanwhile, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s bluff was called out by Oxford dictionary after he shared a screenshot of what seemed to look like its website. In the screenshot of the “website”, the word "Modilie" was defined as "to constantly Modify the truth".

On Our Specials

Ma, Mati, Modi: From West Bengal, Aniruddha Ghoshal traces how the BJP has polarized the twice-partitioned state along communal lines like never before. “Bengal shaped Hindutva. Today, Hindutva is shaping Bengal,” he writes.

How women vote: Adrija Bose travels to Uttar Pradesh's Chandauli village where she finds a jaded female electorate who wonder if their vote would even matter.

The hot seat: In Bengaluru, Deepa Balakrishnan writes about the growing clamour around the Chief Minister’s seat with several people rallying behind Siddaramaiah to once again don the role.

On Reel

This time around, the stakes are high in Bengal. It is a fight to the finish with a high-octane Mamata versus Modi, BJP versus TMC, Hindutva versus and Ma Mati Manush battle. News18.com's Aniruddha Ghoshal explains.

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