- Abhishek Banerjee said PM Modi made "wild" allegations at Wednesday rally
- He sought an apology, failing which "appropriate action" would be taken
- PM Modi had accused "bua-bhatija" duo of bringing goondacracy to Bengal
Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee on Saturday sent a defamation notice to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making "wildly fabricated allegations" against him at a rally in West Bengal's Diamond Harbour on Wednesday. Mr Banerjee demanded an unconditional apology within 36 hours of the receipt of the notice, failing which he would "initiate appropriate proceedings".
Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of party chief Mamata Banerjee, is seeking re-election from Diamond Harbour in the final phase of the Lok Sabha elections. He is pitted against the BJP's Nilanjan Roy, in whose support PM Modi had come to campaign that day.
PM Modi had claimed at the rally that the state was going through a "torturous period under the bua-bhatija rule", but the people would give them a fitting answer by putting their might behind the BJP. "Democracy has turned into goondacracy in West Bengal. Trinamool Congress goons have made life hell for the people here. But the days of goondacracy are over," he had said.
The notice, written by Abhishek Banerjee's advocate on his behalf, claimed that the speech - which was widely aired on media channels - was aimed at harming his reputation. "Your speech, punctuated by false, malicious and defamatory content, was an embodiment of political calculation and mischievous intent. Your imputations were deliberate and mala fide, perpetrated through thinly veiled references of bhatija (nephew) and didi while being fully aware that Mamata Banerjee is referred to as didi and my client is her only nephew," it read.
According to the notice, PM Modi's speech also seemed to suggest that the sitting parliamentarian from Diamond Harbour was "in the habit of encroaching upon public land" and that he was part of a "syndicate involved in organised extortion".
"Such allegations are slanderous, malicious and false, only inhabiting the silos of your party's collective imagination," the notice said, adding that the use of words such as "goonda" - or goon - does not befit somebody occupying PM Modi's constitutional position. Abhishek Banerjee also took exception to the Prime Minister's alleged threat of "locking up" his office once are the results of the Lok Sabha elections are announced.
PM Modi's rally at Diamond Harbour had come a day after BJP chief Amit Shah took out a road show through North Kolkata, which eventually ended in clashes with Trinamool Congress workers and the vandalisation of an iconic statue of 19th Century social reformer Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar. Taking a stern stand on the violence, the Election Commission invoked Article 324 of the Constitution to prohibit poll campaigning in nine constituencies of Bengal from 10 pm on Thursday.