Mockery and insult were the hallmark of election speeches. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee declared that she did not return Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s calls to discuss Cyclone Fani, as she did not “want to share the dais with expiry-PM”. This was after Modi charged Banerjee with “playing politics” over cyclone relief. Banerjee’s conduct stood out in sharp contrast to Naveen Patnaik, also from the Opposition Biju Janata Dal in Odisha, which bore the brunt of the cyclone, as PM visited Odisha and did an aerial survey and spoke to Patnaik on the management of the aftermath of the cyclone. At a rally in Bengal’s Tamluk, Modi said, “I tried to talk to Mamata Didi before the cyclone hit, but such was her arrogance that she refused to talk to me."
In a Hindi tweet later he said: “I waited, expecting her to call me back. But she did not. Still, I called her again. I was worried about the people of Bengal, and wanted to speak to Mamata Didi. But Didi did not speak to me the second time either.” At a rally from Bengal's Bishnupur, Banerjee said she could not take the call as she was in Kharagpur to monitor the ground situation.
But she added, witheringly, “I don't want to share dais with expiry-PM as elections
Banerjee was incensed that the PM preferred to be in touch with Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi, rather than asking her for suggestions on managing the aftermath of the cyclone. This theme could repeat itself in Bengal as eight constituencies go to the polls on May 12.