Modi, Mamata target each other over damage to Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar statue

PM accuses Trinamool of erasing evidence of attack

On the second day after the bust of 19th century Bengal reformer Ishwar Chandra Bandopadhyay’s [Vidyasagar] was vandalised, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee continued to attack each other about Tuesday’s incident.

While Mr. Modi said the Trinamool Congress is trying “to erase evidence on the attack,” Ms. Banerjee targeted him for offering to raise a “giant statue” of Vidyasagar in the north Kolkata college where it was vandalised.

Mr. Modi accused the Trinamool of breaking the lock of the college where the bust of Vidyasagar was kept.

"There were CCTV cameras in the college. In the same way the Trinamool erased evidence in the Saradha and Narada scams, they are trying to erase the evidence in this incident too,” Mr. Modi said. He was speaking at a public meeting in Mathurapur in South 24 Parganas district.

Reacting to the PM’s comment, Trinamool MP Derek O’Brien tweeted that there are “at least 40 video clips in circulation in Kolkata…which are irrefutable proof [that the BJP activists broke the bust]. What is your defence,” Mr. O’Brien asked. Earlier at a rally in Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Modi said that he would erect a ‘grand statue’ to replace the damaged bust.

“Why should we take their (BJP’s) money, Bengal has enough resources. They have destroyed a 200-year-old heritage, how can it be built,” Ms. Banerjee said. She said that Bengalis should not vote for BJP for destroying the State’s heritage.

The Chief Minister also claimed that Bengal is "under attack" and did not spare the Election Commission either.

“Election Commission has sold themselves out to the BJP,” said Ms Banerjee who is upset by ECI to cut short the campaign for the last phase of polls by 17 hours. Earlier in the day Ms Banerjee thanked Congress party and leaders of other parties including, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati for “expressing solidarity and support against biased actions under the directions of the BJP”. Ms Banerjee completed almost all the political events lined up for Friday, during the day. Ms Banerjee held public meetings at Mathurapur and Diamond Harbour and held road shows at Behala and Jadavpur area covering almost 15 km by road.

Meanwhile, speaking at his last public rally during the 2019 election campaign in West Bengal at Dum Dum, Mr Modi said that elections will also be remembered for the attitude of Didi (Ms Banerjee).

“Didi is making a mistake of considering Bengal as her personal property. The credibility of democratic institutions is more important than your arrogance,” he said.

Nine Lok Sabha seats in south Bengal including two in Kolkata, Kolkata North and Kolkata South will go to polls on May 19. The Election Commission has deployed 710 companies of central forces for polling in the last phase of polls in the State.

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