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'I pray you are able to secure 40': PM Modi uses Mamata Banerjee's remarks to take a dig at Congress

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday cited remarks of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to take a dig at Congress's electoral prospects in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. "A challenge has been posed before you from West Bengal that Congress will not be able to cross 40 (in Lok Sabha elections 2024). I pray that you are able to secure 40," the Prime Minister said in his reply to the debate on motion of thanks to President's address in Rajya Sabha.

Last week, Mamata Banerjee had challenged the Congress to take on the BJP in the Hindi heartland states and had said she doubts if the grand-old party will secure "even 40 seats" in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The Trinamool chief did not spare Rahul Gandhi also and called his ongoing Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra a "mere photo opportunity" for "migratory birds." She challenged the Congress to defeat the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh.

"I proposed that Congress contest 300 seats (across the country where BJP is the main opposition), but they refused to heed. Now, they've arrived in the state to stir up Muslim voters. I doubt whether they will secure even 40 seats if they contested 300," Mamata had said. "If you have the courage, defeat the BJP in UP, Banaras, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh. Where were you (Congress) when Manipur was burning? We had sent a team," the Trinamool chief had added.

Mamata also accused the Congress of joining hands with the CPM to help the BJP in West Bengal. The CPM had joined Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra in the state while the Trinamool had kept away.

The West Bengal chief minister had offered Congress two seats which the party had won in 2019 Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal. However, the grand old party rejected her offer and said "they did not want Trinamool's mercy."

While Rahul Gandhi claimed that talks for seat sharing with the Trinamool Congress was still on, Mamata denied his remarks and asserted that there has been no dialogue between the two parties.