'I Will Sleep if I Feel Like': Mamata Calls PM Modi's Appeal to Light Diyas a Personal Matter

Kolkata West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday described as a "personal matter" Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to citizens to light a candle or diya on April 5 to show solidarity with the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and said she would sleep if she felt like it.

Hitting back at Banerjee, Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said the situation is indicative of the chief minister being asleep, and she may continue in that state at 9 pm on April 5 when the entire country would be awake.

Earlier, responding to a query on the issue, Banerjee asked media persons not to ignite a political battle amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

"He has told you... You do it. Why are you asking me? I will say what I have to, the Prime Minister will say what he has to.

"Why should I interfere in other people's matters? Should I tackle coronavirus, or you want a political war to break out? Please don't ignite a political battle. If you feel what the Prime Minister has said is good, you abide by that. If I feel, I will sleep, I will do that. It is a personal matter," Banerjee said.

In a morning video message to the nation, Modi urged citizens to light a candle or a diya on April 5 at 9 p.m. for nine minutes to dispel the darkness and gloom brought by the outbreak of the dreaded coronavirus.

"This Sunday, April 5, we have to challenge the Covid-19 pandemic, we have to introduce it to the power of light.

"We have to take the Mahasankalp (strong determination) of 130 crore citizens to new heights. I ask for your nine minutes at 9 p.m. on April 5," Modi said.

He then asked the citizens to switch off the lights at their homes, reach out from their windows, gates or balconies and light a candle or diya for nine minutes. Even torches and mobile phone flash lights would do, he said.

Ghosh pointed out that the Trinamool leaders had also criticised the Prime Minister when he asked people to clap on March 22 in solidarity with all those in the frontline of the fight against the disease, but the country did not pay heed to their objections.

"The situation in the country is indicative to all that the chief minister is sleeping. She can continue to sleep more at 9 pm on Sunday. But the whole country will be awake," he said.