PM takes dig on Derek's comments on freedom of speech, intimidation

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New Delhi, Feb 8 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday took a jibe at Derek O'Brien for using phrases like 'freedom of speech' and 'intimidation', saying he thought the TMC member was referring to the situation in West Bengal.

'I was listening to Derek Ji. He was using great words like 'freedom of speech', 'intimidation' and 'hounding'. When I was hearing these words, I was wondering if he was talking about West Bengal or the country.

'It is obvious he sees and hears such things 24 hours. So he probably may have said those things by mistake here (in the House),' Modi said.

He was replying in the Rajya Sabha to the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address.

Assembly elections are due in the state later this year. The BJP has been focusing on the state to wrest power from the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC government. It has been accusing the West Bengal government of criminalising politics, institutionalising corruption and politicising the police.

Derek, who represents the TMC from West Bengal, had on Thursday last week participated in the discussion.

He had demanded that the government repeal the three controversial farm laws and even offered a 'Repealing Bill 2021' drafted by him for the purpose.

He had interrupted his speech to observe a minute's silence in the House along with other opposition leaders, mainly the Congress, to pay tribute to the farmers who lost their lives during the two-months agitation.

The prime minister also took a jibe at Congress MP Pratap Singh Bajwa, saying Bajwa too spoke at length while participating in the debate and it seemed he would soon talk about Emergency as well. PTI MJH NKD AAR AAR