Union minister and BJP leader Smriti Irani took a jibe at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday at a rally in Himachal Pradesh’s Palampur.
Addressing a gathering, Irani said, “You are lucky that when you chant ‘Jai Sri Ram’, at least you are not arrested. Today in India, there is a state where if a common citizen merely says ‘Jai Sri Ram’ allies of Congress put him in jail.”
Irani was referring to the reported arrest of three people in Bengal’s Ghatal for chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ when Banerjee’s convoy was passing. Banerjee, the chief of Trinamool Congress, had then tried to confront those raising the slogan, but they fled.
The slogan of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ has become one of the major poll issues in the state.
Two days back, BJP chief Amit Shah raised ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan at a rally in Bengal’s Jaynagar and dared Mamata Banerjee to arrest him.
“Mamata didi, I am chanting Jai Shri Ram here and leaving for Kolkata. Arrest me if you have the guts,” he said at an election rally in Jaynagar.
West Bengal has witnessed political violence in every phase of the elections held so far. BJP has alleged that TMC supporters have attacked its workers and leaders.
The vehicle of Union minister Babul Supriyo was vandalised in the fourth phase of the elections on 29 April. In the sixth phase, held on 12 May, the vehicle of BJP candidate from Ghatal, Bharati Ghosh, was vandalised allegedly by TMC activists.
On Tuesday, stones were pelted at Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata which led to major clashes between TMC and BJP supporters.
During the violence, a statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was vandalised. The TMC accused “outside goons of the BJP” for the violence. The BJP, on the other hand, accused the TMC.