Union minister Amit Shah and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee locked horns today in a fight that seems to be turning into a family brawl. On his day-long visit to Bengal, the home minister attacked her nephew and Trinamool MP Abhishek Banerjee, and Mamata Banerjee dragged his son into it. The BJP has attacked Abhishek Banerjee before. Mamata Banerjee’s attack was a full-throttled first. Neither took any names in the squabble over ‘B versus B’ — bhatija (nephew) versus beta (son).
“Modi Sarkar is for Garib Kalyan, Mamata Sarkar is for Bhatija Kalyan. She is wondering when she can make her nephew Chief Minister. If Dilip Ghosh had not fought here, she would have made the announcement by now,” Mr Amit Shah said in Cooch Behar, his first stop in the state today to campaign for the coming elections.
Hours later, Mamata Banerjee hit back at a public function with non-profits in Kolkata.
“They keep saying Bhatija-Bua. What about your son? We are bad just because we are in Bengal. How did he make so much money? First answer this. Didi is very nice. She tells the truth. But if you clash with me, you will crumble. (Didi so jo takrayega, choor choor ho jayega),” she said.
The squabble didn’t stop there. At his second programme in Thakurnagar in south Bengal, Mr Shah started his address with an attack on Mamata Banerjee and ended it with one as well.
“Due to some circumstances, my earlier programme here was cancelled. Mamata Didi became very happy. But elections won’t happen till April and I will come here again and again and keep coming till you lose the poll,” he said.
Mr Shah’s parting shot got an acerbic reaction from the Chief Minster. “We welcome him,” Ms Banerjee said, then added, “All the time he abuses Bengal. Come to campaign here. Don’t try and threaten me. I am not scared you. Didi cannot be forced to do anything”.
Perhaps picking a cue from PM Narendra Modi’s headline-making comment in his campaign rally last Sunday, Ms Banerjee said, “I am ready for the game”.
“I will be goalkeeper. I want to see how many goals you can get past me,” added the Chief Minister, who is seeking a third straight term in the state where she came to power in 2011, sweeping away the 34-year Left Front rule.