In a fresh war of words, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday blamed “Trinamool Congress goons” for vandalisation of Bengal Renaissance icon Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's bust in Kolkata and promised to install his grand statue at the same spot but West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee rejected the promise saying the state has enough resources of its own for the purpose.
Modi told an election rally in Mau, Uttar Pradesh that he was going for a rally in Dum Dum, Kolkata, later on Thursday but was not sure if the West Bengal Chief Minister will allow his helicopter to land. "The statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was broken by Trinamool Congress goondas during the road show of BJP President Amit Shah. Those involved in this act should be given strong punishment",” the PM said.
He said a grand "panch dhatu" (made up of five metals) statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar will be installed at the same spot to give a befitting reply to Trinamool Congress workers. Hitting back at Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati, who had attacked him over the violence in West Bengal on Tuesday, Modi said "the manner in which the West Bengal government has been targeting people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, he thought Mayawati “will give a befitting reply but she is more concerned about power".
The Prime Minister said "anarchy was spread by Trinamool workers during his earlier meetings there in West Midnapore and Thakurnagar" in West Bengal.
Mamata responded to Modi’s promise of installing a new statue of Vidyasagar by saying that Bengal does not need money from the BJP and has enough resources on its own to rebuild the statue.
Addressing a rally in Mandirbazar in West Bengal, Mamata said "Modi has promised to rebuild the Vidyasagar statue in Kolkata. Why should we take their (BJP's) money? Bengal has enough resources." She said vandalising statues was one of the habits of the BJP and that the party has done so in Tripura as well. "The BJP has destroyed 200-year-old heritage of West Bengal and those supporting the party will not be accepted by the society," she warned.
Hitting out at the saffron party over its social media posts, the Trinamool Congress supremo also said that the BJP had been spreading canards over Facebook and Twitter. "The BJP is trying to instigate people and cause riots with its fake posts on social media," she alleged.