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2-min read

'Will Drag Them to Jail’: Mamata Challenges PM to Prove Claim That TMC Vandalised Vidyasagar's Bust

The West Bengal chief minister accused the BJP leadership of running an oppressive regime and claimed several instances of statues of notable figures being taken down had been reported under the current government.

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:May 16, 2019, 6:56 PM IST
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'Will Drag Them to Jail’: Mamata Challenges PM to Prove Claim That TMC Vandalised Vidyasagar's Bust
File photo of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to prove his claim that the bust of iconic philosopher Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was broken by workers of the Trinamool Congress during Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata on May 14

“This prime minister is a big liar. He should hold his ears and do 100 sit-ups,” Banerjee said at a public meeting in Mandirbazar in South 24 Parganas district. “I heard that during a public meet in Uttar Pradesh, he lied that we broke Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s bust. Let him prove his allegations. Or else we will drag them to jails. We have all the documents.”

The TMC chief reiterated her earlier claims that “goons” from the BJP had broken the statue located at Vidyasagar College in the state capital. Modi on Thursday promised to re-erect a grander statue at the same spot.

“After breaking, now he (Modi) is offering to rebuild it. He (Modi) offered to rebuild the statue, but I would like to tell him that Bengal has enough funds to do so. Can he restore the 200-year-old heritage?” she asked.

Banerjee accused the BJP leadership of running an oppressive regime and claimed several instances of statues of notable figures being taken down had been reported under the current government.

“Babasaheb Ambedkar’s statue was demolished in Meerut. After winning elections in Tripura, they vandalised statues (of Lenin). It is their culture,” she said. “Under the leadership of Amit Shah, their goons vandalised Vidyasagar’s statue. We will not tolerate any attack on our icons. Not a single Bengali will join BJP. Those who joined BJP for money, the society will not accept them.”

Banerjee claimed that “gau-rakshaks” from outside were being brought into West Bengal in order to spread hatred. “Be alert, no one is more dangerous like them,” she said.

The chief minister said she was setting up “mahila vahinis” (women armies) across villages in order to combat any malpractice. “There’s already a Jai Hind Vahini comprising youth,” she said.

On Tuesday, a group of suspected BJP supporters, marching with Shah’s decorated vehicle, allegedly broke open the locks of Vidyasagar College, forcibly barged inside the campus and went on a rampage. They allegedly broke Vidyasagar’s bust and set three motorcycles afire. The statue was kept inside a glass box in the main administrative office of the college. The incident was criticised by the ruling Trinamool as well as several Opposition leaders, who accused Modi and Shah of indulging in violence.

Both the TMC and the BJP had blamed each other for the violence. In the aftermath of the violence, the Election Commission on Wednesday curtailed campaigning in the state after 10 pm on Thursday. Nine Lok Sabha constituencies of the state will go to polls in the final phase of elections on May 19.
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