The war of words between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been escalating for days, but it is now their supports who are flinging abuse at the two leaders.
Most recently, on 9 January, Manas Sarkar, who claims to be a BJP leader from Balurghat, called Mamata the "devil" on a social networking site while criticising her.
A fatwa and an award
This comes two days after a statement made by the Shahi Imam of Tipu Sultan Mosque, Maulana Noor-ur Rahman Barkati, who announced a Rs 25 lakh award for anyone who would shave off the Prime Minister's hair and beard. He also issued a 'fatwa' against Modi for 'bluffing' the people through demonetisation.
The Imam tried to justify his fatwa: "People who keep beard are mostly religious like maulanas, sadhus, sufis, sikh gurus. But Modi keeping beard is 'bhondami' (bluffing). I have no hesitation in saying that he (Modi) is bluffing the country. He (Modi) has lost all his credentials as the Prime Minister."
The Imam also declared Modi as "communal" and praised Mamata as a figure of "communal harmony". He claimed that most people in the country now want Banerjee to become the prime minister of the country.
Last month Barkati had issued a 'fatwa' against BJP state president Dilip Ghosh for his comments against Banerjee.
On 8 January, Ritesh Tiwari, BJP secretary of state, filed an FIR against the Shahi Imam at at Jorasanko police station, claiming that he was trying to wage a war against the nation by making such derogatory comments.
The BJP has responded by claiming that Sarkar is not a member of their party. BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha asserted, "We do not know anybody called Manas Sarkar, so I cannot comment on the matter."
On the other hand, TMC leaders have claimed that comments such as Sarkar's are made to destroy communal harmony in the state and could only come from the BJP. Even so, state parliamentary affairs minister Partha Chatterjee did not clarify whether the TMC will file an FIR against Sarkar.
Edited by Aleesha Matharu
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