West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday accused the BJP-led central government of attempting to saffronise various institutions across the country, including the Indian cricket team, whose practice jerseys are now saffron-coloured.
Speaking at the inauguration of Jagadhatri Puja at Posta Bazar in central Kolkata, Ms Banerjee alleged that the BJP has introduced saffron colour not only in the practice jerseys of the cricket team but also in the painting of Metro stations.
She expressed her disapproval, stating, “They are trying to paint the entire country saffron. We are proud of our Indian players, and I believe they will be champions in the World Cup. But they (BJP) brought in saffron colours there as well, and our boys now practice in saffron-coloured jerseys. The Metro stations have been painted saffron. This is unacceptable.”
Without explicitly naming anyone, Ms Banerjee denounced what she considered as partisan politics.
The Trinamool Congress chief said, “I don’t have problems with them erecting statues, but they are trying to turn everything saffron. I had once seen that Mayawati had made a statue of herself. After that, I hadn’t heard of anything like this. These theatrics cannot always lead to benefits. Power comes and goes.”
Taking a swipe at the BJP, she said the country belongs “to the Janata (people) of the nation, and not to just Janata of a party.”
Her remark drew sharp reactions from the BJP, which dubbed the allegations a “reflection of a vindictive approach”.
BJP leader Rahul Sinha said, “After a few days, she might question why our national flag has saffron colour in it. We don’t deem it fit to even react to such statements.”
Ms Banerjee said the BJP-led central government is prompt in spending crores on front-page advertisements but has stopped the “due funds of the state, thus depriving thousands of (MGNREGA) workers in the state.” “First, I fought with CPI(M). Now I have to fight with the party in power in Delhi,” she said.
While talking about the upcoming edition of the Bengal Global Business Summit, Ms Banerjee claimed that more than 70,000 businessmen have left the country.
“These businessmen could have invested in the country, and money could have been used here. But now they have moved out. We hope good sense prevails (among BJP leaders),” she said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)