West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee stunned the gathering at the Victoria Memorial Hall in Kolkata when she refused to deliver her speech after the audience greeted her with Jai Shri Ram.

Mamata, who was sharing the dais with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pay tribute to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his 124th birth anniversary, was greeted with the slogan just as she was getting up to deliver her speech.

Offended by the Jai Shri Ram slogan, which Mamata believed had nothing to do with Netaji, the West Bengal Chief Minister said, "I think government events should have some decorum maintained. I am thankful to the Prime Minister and the Union culture minister for inviting me here. But I think it is not right to insult the invitees."

"I am not going to deliver my speech except Jai Hind and Jai Bangla," a visibly angry Mamata said.

 

 

After Mamata walked off the dais, PM Modi addressed the gathering during which he termed Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose as the biggest inspiration of Sonar Bangla along with the dream of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.

He also announced that the train plying from Howrah, known as Howrah-Kalka Mail has been renamed as Netaji Express.

Mamata had earlier in the day led a massive rally in Kolkata to celebrate the day.

In that event, Mamata said, "We do not celebrate Netaji's birthday only in the years when elections are scheduled. We are celebrating his 125th birth anniversary in a grand fashion. Rabindranath Tagore described Netaji as Deshnayak. That is why we have decided to celebrate this day as Deshnayak Diwas"

Mamata's walkout from the Victoria Memorial Hall event is expected to escalate the war of words between the BJP and the Trinamool Congress ahead of the forthcoming assembly elections in West Bengal.

Crude bombs went off and shots were fired on Saturday afternoon in Howrah where BJP and Trinamool Congress supporters clashed. Many vehicles were vandalised, including a police patrol jeep, and several people were injured.