- "My party does not steal like yours": Mamata Banerjee hit out at PM Modi
- Ms Banerjee also said PM Modi "has no right to be the Prime Minister"
- PM Modi earlier claimed 40 Trinamool lawmakers were in contact with him
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's comment that 40 Trinamool lawmakers will join the BJP, has prompted Bengal chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to issue a dare. "I am saying at least find one," the Chief Minister said and then somewhat contrarily added, "My party does not steal like yours". Accusing the Prime Minister of "horse trading", her party has asked the Election Commission that his nomination for the Lok Sabha polls be scrapped.
Livid over the Prime Minister's claim, Ms Banerjee, in a strong takedown, said the remark was "unconstitutional" and "illegal".
"Aren't you ashamed? You claim yourself to be a protector of the constitution? In spite of being in a constitutional position, you are violating it. You don't have any right to be the Prime Minister, ex-prime minister," she said.
Yesterday, addressing a rally in Serampore -- a town near Kolkata -- the Prime Minister had made the stunning claim. "Didi, on 23 May, the day of results, the lotus will bloom everywhere and your MLAs will leave you and run. Even today, Didi, 40 of your MLAs are in contact with me," he had said.
It triggered protests within the Trinamool Congress, and senior party leader Derek O'Brien accused the Prime Minister of "horse trading".
"Expiry Babu PM, let's get this straight. Nobody will go with you. Not even one councillor. Are you election campaigning or horse trading! Your expiry date is near. Today, we are complaining to the Election Commission. Charging you with horse trading," his tweet read.
The Trinamool wrote to the Election Commission today, calling for "strong action" for the "unfounded, inappropriate and illegal" campaign and remarks of the Prime Minister.
PM Modi, it said, was trying to influence voters to vote for the BJP by creating an impression that many lawmakers of the Trinamool are in touch with him and will cross over to his party.
Over the last 18 months, the BJP has edged out the CPM to become the state's principal opposition party, powered by Mamata Banerjee's close aide Mukul Roy, who joined the party in November 2017. At the time, Mukul Roy had claimed the BJP would soon grab power in the state. Since his induction, around six TMC heavyweights have joined the BJP including Lok Sabha member Saumitra Khan, four-time legislator Arjun Singh, Dulal Bar and the party's expelled lawmaker Anupam Hazra.