West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the latter’s announcement that he will construct a grand statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.

Addressing a political rally in Diamond Harbour constituency of 24 Parganas South district, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief said, “In last five years you (PM) couldn’t make a Ram Temple and you want to make Vidyasagar’s statue?”

“People of Bengal won’t beg before you. Your goonda neta came here and said ‘Bangal kangal hai’ (Bengal is bankrupt). As if I have made Bengal kangal. Are Bengalis kangal?” she said as the people responded with a resounding ‘No’.

Banerjee added that she considers the people of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh who reside in Bengal as people of Bengal.

The TMC chief also urged the people to chant ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’, a jibe at PM Modi coined by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.

At a different rally earlier today, Banerjee said her party has proof that BJP workers vandalised Vidyasagar’s bust and dared PM Modi to prove the allegations against TMC.

“We have proof and you say that TMC has done it. Aren’t you ashamed? He should do sit ups for lying so much. Prove allegations otherwise we will drag you to jail,” she said.

Accusing the TMC of vandalising the statue at a rally in Uttar Pradesh’s Mau, the PM said on Thursday that a grand statue of the Bengali icon will be installed at the same spot where it was destroyed in the violence that hit BJP chief Amit Shah’s roadshow on Tuesday.

“We saw hooliganism by TMC workers again during Bhai Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata. They vandalised Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s statue. We are committed to Vidyasagar’s vision and will install his grand statue at the same spot,” the PM said.

On Wednesday, the PM had during a rally in Basirhat said that the violence was the “revenge” that Banerjee declared publicly a few days ago.

“Mamata didi had declared publicly two days ago that she will take revenge. She fulfilled her agenda within 24 hours,” he said.

Stones were pelted on Shah’s roadshow near Vidyasagar College, which led to a clash between TMC and BJP workers in Kolkata. Several motorcycles parked outside were vandalised and set ablaze.

Contingents of Kolkata Police deployed for the roadshow swung into action and were seen chasing away the warring groups. Several people were also arrested for violence.

EDITORIAL | Vidyasagar attacked 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed the violence was triggered by goons the BJP brought from outside Bengal. She also accused “outsiders” belonging to the BJP of destroying the statue of Vidyasagar.