Seventeen seats in Bengal yet to vote, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today escalated her attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he is running a "Fascist government" which has cowed down the people. Drawing a parallel between her fight against the BJP and the Mahatma Gandhi's campaign against the British, she said, "Someone has to bell the cat. In 1942, Quit India movement was launched against the British, now we are fighting to oust a fascist Modi from power".
"There is an emergency-like situation in the country. Nobody can speak out in public as they are scared of him... Stop this fascism and terror," Ms Banerjee said at a rally in Debra, Midnapore.
As the mammoth seven-phase election is drawing to a close and crucial seats in Trinamool Congress bastions are up for grabs, the war of words between Ms Banerjee and PM Modi has intensified.
This is the second time this week the Chief Minister amped up the attack on PM Modi.
Her outburst yesterday -- that she would like to give the Prime Minister "a tight slap of democracy" -- has drawn censure.
It had been prompted by PM Modi's equally harsh attack. At his last rally in Bengal, PM Modi had spoken of what he referred to as "Bengal's Triple T --Trinamool, Tolabaazi, Tax". "Tolabaazi" is a near-abusive term used in Bengali to describe organised extortion - which had infuriated Mamata Banerjee.
Her counterattack had drawn a reprimand from Union Minister Sushma Swaraj, who is not contesting the election on health ground.
"Mamataji, you crossed all limits today. You are the Chief Minister of a state and Modiji is the country's Prime Minister. You have to talk to him tomorrow. This is why I would like to remind you of a couplet written by Bashir Badr: Rage all you want but I just have this one request from you, do not feel ashamed when we have to become friends again someday," she tweeted.
The BJP, which currently has two of the state's 42 seats, is out to wrest 23. The campaign has been has been one of the most bitter and polarising that the state has seen.
With just two more phases to go, the BJP is piling on the pressure on the Trinamool Congress, scheduling six rallies by the Prime Minister and party chief Amit Shah in the state.