Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a sharp attack at Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today, said the top job "is not up for auction" that it can be brought on money from scams like "Narada and Sharada". At a public rally in Asansol in which he repeatedly mocked Mamata Banerjee as "speedbreaker Didi", he also linked votes to the Balakot air strikes in response to the Pulwama terror attack.
"Our didi, contesting a handful of seats, is dreaming of becoming Prime Minister. If the PM's post could be auctioned, then the Congress and didi would come with whatever they have looted through corruption. Didi,yeh PM pad auction mein nahi hai jo Sharda, Narada ke paiso se kharida jaa sake (this post is not on auction that it can be bought from the money from Sharada and Narada)," PM Modi said.
"One needs the blessings of 130 crore Indians to get to the post."
He was campaigning for Union Minister Babul Supriyo, who is the BJP candidate from Asansol. Babul Supriyo faces Trinamool candidate Moon Moon Sen, a former actress who was dubbed "giant killer" after she pulled off a surprise victory against a strong Left candidate in Bankura in 2014.
Today, as the third round of voting for the national election took place across the country, there was violence in Bengal. In Murshidabad, a voter was hacked to death at a polling booth during a clash between the Congress and Mamata Banerjee's ruling Trinamool Congress. Several others were injured in clashes in other parts of the state as polling was held in five constituencies.
PM Modi also made a reference to the Balakot airstrikes, even though the Election Commission has said that any action by the armed forces cannot be used for political gains.
"The new India wants safety and dignity...It is the power of your votes that army jawans can carry out airstrikes, that in space enemy satellites can be hit. Should there not be chun chunk kar hisab (revenge), so don't you need a strong government? A mazboot (strong) chowkidar," he asked the crowd.
The Saradha scam was a major financial fraud in which lakhs of small investors were duped into depositing money with the promise of abnormally high returns. An official estimate says Saradha mopped up about Rs. 1200 crore through its chit funds, but some calculations put that the figure closer to Rs. 4000 crore.
In 2014, Matthew Samuel, the CEO of Narada News, conducted a sting operation posing as a businessman and was seen in the tapes offering money to many Trinamool Congress leaders. It came to be known as the "Narada" scandal.