As Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday dared Mamata Banerjee to arrest him for chanting 'Jai Shri Ram', the fiery West Bengal Chief Minister hit back by saying that the BJP was trying to force its slogan on others.
The Trinamool Congress supremo said that Bengal’s slogans were ‘Vandemataram’ of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and ‘Jai Hind’ of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
Modi’s jibe had come after three people were taken into custody by the police in Ghatal Lok Sabha seat on Saturday for allegedly shouting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ as Banerjee’s convoy passed by.
A video showing Banerjee fuming at some villagers for chanting 'Jai Shri Ram' along a highway in West Midnapore district on Saturday afternoon has gone viral on social media.
"Didi has thrown people in jail for chanting 'Jai Shri Ram'. I thought of saying Jai Shri Ram here today so that she can throw me inside jail too. That way, the people of Bengal might be protected from the wrath of TMC regime," Modi said.
Taking a dig at Banerjee, Modi also said "Didi is banking on her "Mahamilawat gang" to become the prime minister of the country".
"Her dream of becoming the PM has already gone for a toss. Mamata won't be able to bag even 10 seats in Bengal," he added.
Responding to Modi’s jibe, Banerjee said that 'Jai Shri Ram' is the BJP's slogan and it is trying to force everybody to chant it.
"Does Ramchandra become BJP's election agent when election comes?" she said addressing various public rallies in Bishnupur Lok Sabha constituency in West Bengal.
None can be forced to chant what Narendra Modi or BJP want, she said adding that West Bengal's culture has never been what the saffron party has been trying to make it.
The slogan of the people of Bengal is 'Vandemataram' of Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and 'Jai Hind' of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, she said.
"Why should I give your slogan? I will not chant the name of rotten Modi or rotten BJP. They are trying to erase the culture of Bengal," a combative Banerjee said.
"When we do Durga Puja we say Jay Ma Durga, when we do Kali Puja we say Jay Ma Kali but we do not give any particular slogan always like the BJP," she said.
Taking a dig at the saffron party's vow to construct a Ram Temple at Ayodhya, she said that while she has renovated Kali temples at Dakshineswar, Tarapith and Kankalitala in the state "BJP has not been able to set up a single Ram temple in the country in five years though they chant Jai Shri Ram."