Narendra Modi’s Ganga dip with eye on elections, says Mamata
Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday mocked Narendra Modi over his ostentatious charm offensive in Varanasi, accusing him of taking a dip in the Ganga when elections came knocking and not long after countless bodies of Covid-19 victims floated in the river in the BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh.
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.
“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 an 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.
“Jis desh mein Ganga behti hay (The nation in which the Ganga flows)… in that nation, the government of Uttar Pradesh throws bodies of deceased Covid-19 victims without last rites. They have sullied the holy waters of Mother Ganga. The countless victims of Covid-19 who succumbed to the infection… so that their real numbers cannot be kept recorded, the bodies were thrown into the Ganga. The waters of the Ganga, which we believe is holy,” said Mamata in a public meeting at Panjim, conducted by her party along with Goa ally Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, earlier in the day.
Mamata then brought up the Lakhimpur Kheri incident of October 3.
“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.
Sharad Pawar’s NCP on Tuesday filed a disqualification petition before the Goa Assembly’s Speaker Rajesh Patnekar against Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao (the lone MLA of the party in the western state), a day after he defected to Mamata’s party and sought recognition of the NCP legislature party in Goa as the Trinamul legislature party.