West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of luring her party workers with crores of rupees. She also asked her party members to be "tyagee (selfless)".
"They (the BJP) are offering money secretly, in some places through police agencies, some media, not all. They are making phone calls to the TMC workers, offering them (up to) Rs 2 crore to join the BJP. The MLAs are getting calls with an offer of Rs 15 lakh in advance, and another Rs 15 lakh after defection. This is shameful," she said while addressing her first public meeting after the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, in Bankura on Wednesday.
"What do you think I don't know about these? I want to tell the TMC workers that you have to do sacrifices, be selfless, to work for the party," she said.
Mocking Ms Banerjee's advice to her party workers, Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh, who was in Murshidabad district on the day, said the BJP need not offer money to the TMC MLAs as they don't lack any.
"Look at the houses and cars of the TMC leaders, can you say they are selfless. Those who have built three-storey buildings by grabbing public money and are walking around in gold chains are now termed selfless. The TMC MLAs don't lack money, we have nothing to offer them," Mr Ghosh said, adding that if anyone wants to "participate in the politics of development of Bengal, we will take them with us".
"I have accepted those who are coming, there is no question of luring the TMC workers; they are leaving their posts, leaving the path to make money. Didi can't hold them because people don't trust her."
On the other hand, Ms Banerjee attacked the BJP, saying while the world celebrates April Fool's Day once a year, the BJP fools people on all 365 days, Dilip Ghosh's statements on cows.
"We know there is April Fool's Day once a year, that is on April 1, when people fool each other, but the BJP fools people on all 365 days," Ms Banerjee said.
"Sometimes he (Dilip Ghosh) says taking cow urine will protect you from the coronavirus. He might have drunk that, then how did he test positive for the coronavirus? Ask him. Ghosh had also said that cow urine has gold. Had this been the case, everyone in villages would have started cow rearing. I will give cows to the villagers if they can get gold from their urine," she quipped, also targeting the CPI(M).
"Ashamed the CPI(M) is supporting the BJP, fearing actions against its leaders," she added.