Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’ nephew Abhishek Banerjee has sent a defamation notice to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that the PM made “wildly fabricated allegations” against him at a rally in West Bengal’s Diamond Harbour on Wednesday.
TMC leader & nephew of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Abhishek Banerjee through his lawyer sends a defamation notice to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for alleged derogatory remarks made against him in a public rally on 15 May, held in Diamond Harbour in West Bengal. (file pic) pic.twitter.com/3kYEcyiQBu
— ANI (@ANI) May 18, 2019
In the two-page notice, the TMC MP has demanded an unconditional apology within 36 hours from Modi, failing which he would “initiate appropriate proceedings”.
Abhishek Banerjee is seeking re-election from the Diamond Harbour Lok Sabha constituency where he is pitted against BJP’s Nilanjan Roy, in whose support PM Modi had been campaigning that day.
Interestingly, Abhishek Banerjee had recently caught public attention when his wife was caught carrying two kg gold at Kolkata airport. Due to his position and the fact that he is the Chief Minister’s nephew, West Bengal police under Mamata’s administration had tried its best to hush the matter and shield his wife.
Meanwhile, Modi in his rally on Wednesday had made a scathing attack claiming that West Bengal was going through a “torturous period under the bua-bhatija rule”.
PM Modi had stated that after the election results are announced, Abhishek Banerjee’s office will be under lock and key. He had added that he has heard that Abhishek’s office has been built by encroaching a road. He had also asserted that the TMC has been amassing wealth through ‘Tolabazi’ (extortion).
PM Modi’s rally at Diamond Harbour had come a day after BJP chief Amit Shah took out a roadshow through North Kolkata, which eventually ended in clashes with Trinamool Congress workers and the vandalisation of an iconic statue of 19th Century social reformer Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar.
Modi in his rally had said “Democracy has turned into Goondacracy in West Bengal. Trinamool Congress goons have made life hell for the people here. But the days of Goondacracy are over,” he had asserted that the people of Bengal would give the Trinamool a befitting reply by voting for BJP.
However, the notice sent to Modi by Abhishek’s lawyer said that the speech, which was widely aired on media channels was aimed at harming his reputation.
According to the notice, PM Modi’s speech also seemed to suggest that Abhishek Banerjee was “in the habit of encroaching upon public land” and that he was part of a “syndicate involved in organised extortion”.
“Such allegations are slanderous, malicious and false, only inhabiting the silos of your party’s collective imagination,” the notice said, furthering that the use of words such as goonda or goon, does not befit somebody occupying PM Modi’s constitutional position.
Incidentally, at the end of August last year, Abhishek Banerjee also filed a case against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah in a city court. Shah had alleged in a public meeting on August 11, 2018, in Kolkata that the funds sent by the Centre to Bengal were partly appropriated by Abhishek Banerjee.
However, using harsh terminology or anecdotes during election campaigning is nothing unusual. Notably, Mamata Banerjee herself has on several occasions spewed venom against Prime Minister Modi. From dragging Modi’s estranged wife into political mudslinging to calling him a liar to mocking him for not having a family of his own to her ‘slap of democracy’ statement, she has not left a single opportunity to castigate Modi.