While TMC leaders ridiculed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath for lifting an image purportedly from West Bengal, the BJP in the Mamata Banerjee-ruled state took potshots at crashing flyovers in the eastern state over the use of an image in a newspaper ad
The Trinamool Congress on Sunday ridiculed the Uttar Pradesh government for the use of a purported image of a Kolkata flyover in a full-page advertisement showcasing achievements of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, while giving it a backhanded compliment for acknowledging the "great work" done by Mamata Banerjee, his West Bengal counterpart.
Asserting that it was yet to be confirmed that the image was that of 'Maa Flyover' of Kolkata as claimed by several people including politicians on social media, the West Bengal BJP alleged that while the UP government constructs expressways, flyovers come crashing down under the Mamata Banerjee regime in the eastern state.
The advertisement titled 'Transforming Uttar Pradesh under Yogi Adityanath' showed an image of a flyover painted in blue-and-white colours synonymous with the TMC government along with high-rises and industries juxtaposed below a large photograph of the UP chief minister who is a senior BJP leader.
The advertisement features Kolkata's iconic yellow taxi on the flyover and a star hotel beside it, according to several Twitter users.
"The state government (of UP) has to be responsible, there is no passing the buck," TMC national spokesperson and leader of the party in the Rajya Sabha Derek O'Brien said, claiming that the newspaper concerned was put under pressure to release a statement taking the blame for the goof up.
The Indian Express which carried the advertisement issued a corrigendum saying "A wrong image was inadvertently included in the cover collage of the advertorial on Uttar Pradesh produced by the marketing department of the newspaper. The error is deeply regretted and the image has been removed in all digital editions of the paper."
O'Brien said he has been with an advertising agency for several years and can vouch that the client has to approve any advertisement before being released in the media.
"This is a blunder. The only positive part of it is that they (BJP) are acknowledging the great work done by the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal," he said at a press conference here, adding, "Imitation is the best form of flattery."
O'Brien claimed that the Mamata Banerjee government has fared better than the Yogi Adityanath administration in several key sectors such as money spent on construction and length of rural roads, 100-day work scheme, crimes against SC people and the number of hospital beds.
The senior TMC leader provided some data on those sectors without giving their source.
He sarcastically said the data provided by him can be used by the Yogi Adityanath government to release more advertisements.
Other TMC MPs such as Abhishek Banerjee, Mahua Moitra and Firhad Hakim also ridiculed the BJP over the episode, claiming that the saffron party has now indirectly accepted the "development spree" under the Mamata Banerjee government and even tried to appropriate it.
TMC national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee tweeted: "Transforming UP for @myogiadityanath means stealing images from infrastructure seen in Bengal under @MamataOfficial's leadership and using them as his own! Looks like the 'DOUBLE ENGINE MODEL' has MISERABLY FAILED in BJP's strongest state and now stands EXPOSED for all!"
Former saffron party national vice-president Mukul Roy, who returned to the TMC after winning the assembly poll on BJP ticket, claimed in a Twitter post that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is so helpless to save his party that other than changing CMs, he has also had to resort to using pictures of growth and infrastructure seen under Mamata Banerjee's leadership.
The West Bengal BJP tried to save face over the goof-up saying even if the image was indeed that of Maa flyover, the TMC government does not have any other infrastructural development to flaunt.
"Several expressways have been built under the Adityanath government in UP. In comparison, West Bengal has witnessed several flyovers collapses in the last few years," West Bengal BJP general secretary Sayantan Basu said.
Even if it is indeed the image of Maa flyover, it was nothing but a mistake and does not take away Adityanath's credit for accelerating UP's growth, he said.
Addressing the press conference, O'Brien claimed that the TMC and Mamata Banerjee are the only serious challengers to the BJP in national politics and people believe that Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah can be defeated in the 2024 Lok Sabha election under her leadership.
The Rajya Sabha MP also claimed that the ground situation in Tripura is such that people in the state are ready for a change and the BJP will be dethroned in the 2323 assembly election.
Stating that Yogi Adityanath, whose state Uttar Pradesh goes to polls in 2022, had addressed 11 rallies in West Bengal during the assembly elections held earlier this year, O'Brien claimed that his claims of the benefits of a "double engine government" (same party rule in Centre as well as state) have been proved to be hollow and false.