Addressing a gathering in poll-bound Goa, Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee politicised PM Modi taking a holy dip in Ganga during his visit to Varanasi on Monday.
“We are not in the habit of offering prayers… taking a dip in the holy waters of Mother Ganga, only when elections are just around the corner. Chunaav aatey hain, toh Ganga mein doob jaatey hain… Modiji ney doob diya (When elections arrive, he drowns in the Ganga… Modi took a dip),” said Mamata to thunderous applause from the audience at a public meeting in Goa’s Assanora.
She was apparently referring to the five dips by Modi in the Ganga — a river deemed holy in Hinduism — on Monday, before dedicating the renovated Kashi Vishwanath temple corridor to the nation while performing a brief Rudrabhishek sitting on a low table at the shrine.
“Whenever elections come, he does something or the other. When elections are around the corner, sometimes he goes and sits for meditation in a Uttarakhand temple (during a visit to Kedarnath amid the general election of 2019). When elections are close by, he himself becomes a priest. Not that I have an objection. Let him do these things, he has that freedom. But where is he through the year?” asked the Bengal chief minister.
She brought up the countless bodies of deceased Covid-19 victims floating in the Ganga, from Uttar Pradesh, during the peak of the second wave in India amid monumental mismanagement of the pandemic by the BJP-led Centre and several state governments. The visuals had made headlines globally, and brought shame to the nation, internationally.
The Trinamul Congress chief also demanded a charcha (discussion) from Prime Minister Modi on the special investigation team (SIT) report on the October 3 Lakhimpur Kheri killing of farmers. The SIT told a court that it was a “pre-planned conspiracy causing death”, prompting Mamata to ask whether or not Union home minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath should resign.
“Remember Lakhimpur Kheri? Where protesting farmers were mowed down by a BJP (junior Union) minister’s son? The court’s SIT has submitted its report, which states clearly that the incident was planted (“pre-planned”).”
The SIT recommended replacement of lesser charges such as death by negligence with attempt to murder.
“If that is the truth, then should the Uttar Pradesh chief minister not resign? Should the (Union) home minister not resign? Should the Prime Minister not discuss this (in public)?” asked Mamata.