Sreerampore (West Bengal), April 27 (IANS) In an all-out attack on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi Sunday accused her of joining hands with Finance Minister P. Chidambaram to save the Saradha scamsters and ruining the state by vote bank politics.
Addressing an election rally in this town of Hooghly district, Modi raised the issue of the multi-crore rupee Saradha scam, promising “no one will be spared” if he came to power at the centre and specifically raising questions about who bought one of Banerjee’s paintings for Rs.1.80 crore.
“Chidambaramji, you are the country’s finance minister, such a big scam has taken place, who are you trying to save? Why have Mamataji and Chidambaram joined hands to help those responsible for the Saradha scam, people of Bengal want to know,” he said.
Assuring the victims of the Saradha scam in states like Bengal, Jharkhand and Odhisa, he said: “I announce that after forming the government in Delhi, strong action will be taken on this issue. Nobody will be spared.”
Attacking Banerjee, Modi raised questions about one of her paintings being sold for Rs.1.80 crore.
Bengal’s opposition parties have been alleging that purported Saradha scam mastermind Sudipta Sen had bought the painting at the exhorbitant price. But the Trinamool Congress has denied it.
“You are a good painter. I have heard earlier your paintings used to be sold for Rs.4 lakh, Rs. 8 lakh, Rs.15 lakh. But what is the reason behind your painting once being sold for Rs.1.80 crore.”
Dripping sarcasm, Modi said the country is proud to have such a painter, but questioned who purchased the painting.
“How many paintings did he buy? Who all have bought your paintings? And at what prices? People of Bengal want to know.”
Responding to Modi’s attack, Trinamool national spokesperson Derek O’Brien called Modi the “Butcher of Gujarat” and accused him of making personal attacks as he “has no answers to Bengal’s development model”. Challenging Modi, he said the BJP leader should either prove his allegation or face defamation charges.
“The paintings were sold not for personal gain. The money was used for good causes as well as to fund elections. Hence electoral reforms are a priority for Trinamool,” said O’Brien.
Claiming that the Congress, Left and Trinamool were all in league, Modi said why the Congress was contesting the polls when it was professing support for a possible Third Front regime.
He accused the Congress of forming covert and overt alliance to prevent him from coming to power, as it was afraid that “if Modi comes to power, they will be nowhere”.
He alleged that Banerjee was following the path that was used by the erstwhile Left Front government and was concerned less about the state and more in protecting her chair.
“Mamataji and the Left are always thinking of checkmating each other. They have no time to think about the people, the state’s development. Mamataji has caused more damage to the state in 35 months than what the Left did in 34 years.”
In an apparent reference to various cases slapped on BJP Lok Sabha candidate singer Babul Supriyo, Modi said: “Mamataji, times have changed, You cannot gain popularity by slapping false cases on those in public life with the help of police.”
Modi alleged that like Sonia Gandhi, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, and Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati, Banerjee only pursued a policy of vote bank politics and this “will make the future of the youths of Bengal dark”.
He alleged that Banerjee had no love for people from outside the state who have settled in Bengal, but “your face glows when peole come from Bangladesh”.
“But I tell you, after May 16, people of Bangladesh will have to leave bag and baggage.”