Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister engaged in an intense battle of nicknames on Wednesday.
At a rally in Siliguri, Modi, BJP’s chief election face, called Banerjee ‘speed-breaker Didi’.
“I do feel sorry that while we could work speedily for development in various states in the country, West Bengal was an exception. This was so because there is a speed-breaker here. The speed-breaker is known to people here as Didi,” Modi said. His jibe was in reference to Banerjee’s refusal to be part of Modi government’s flagship healthcare programme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, or more popularly, Ayushman Bharat.
He then went on to say: “Didi is speed-breaker for your development,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister claimed the chief minister “wanted” people to stay poor, because, “if poverty ceases to exist, Didi’s politics will also come to an end. The story of the Congress party and the Communists was no different”.
He also took a swipe at the chit fund scams in West Bengal, and Trinamool Congress leaders supposed involvement.
“Didi’s ministers and other associates” robbed ordinary people of their savings by promising them huge return if they invested in chit fund, he said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee responded to the Prime Minister alternately calling him “expiry Babu” and “expiry PM”.
In response to Modi’s allegations that she had prevented development in the state, Banerjee told a public rally here in Cooch Behar district that income of farmers in Bengal has increased three times under her rule. “I am not Modi, I don’t tell lies,” she said. She claimed that 12,000 farmers committed suicide during Modi rule in the country.