Birbhum (West Bengal): West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee addresses a public rally ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, in West Bengal's Birbhum, on April 25, 2019. (Photo: Indrajit Roy/IANS). Image Source: IANS News

Suri : , April 25 (IANS) Attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for revealing that she sends him kurtas and sweets every year, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee here on Thursday accused him of doing his marketing by exploiting a gesture of courtesy.

"Marketing a gesture of courtesy is not conducive to democracy," Banerjee said and added she normally wrote letters on birthdays to everyone.

"PM Modi has said I send him kurtas. Where is the problem? We send gifts to all during Durga Puja," she said at an election meeting here in the Birbhum district.

Stating that her government has started the Biswa Bangla brand to empower artisans, the West Bengal Chief Minister said, "We send these products not just to PM Modi but everyone. We do not publicise it like him. Courtesy and politics are different."
The state's Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Textiles department has been promoting the Biswa Bangla brand and operates nine state-of-the-art showrooms -- five in Kolkata and one each in New Delhi, Hyderabad and Darjeeling, and one at the Bagdogra Airport to support handloom weavers, craftswomen and traditional artisans of the state through strategic marketing of handloom, handicraft and other heritage products.

"We have started the Biswa Bangla brand. We are empowering our artisans," Banerjee said.

In a candid conversation with actor Akshay Kumar, Modi revealed on Wednesday that Banerjee, otherwise one of his most vocal critic, would herself select kurtas and gift them to him every year.

He also said Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina used to send him special sweets every year from Dhaka. When Banerjee came to know about it, she also started sending him Bengali sweets on "one or two occasions every year".

Hours after Modi's comments, Banerjee had said she might send gifts and sweets to people on occasions but would not give them her vote.

Taking a dig at Banerjee after Modi's revelation about sweets and kurtas, Bengal Congress President Soumen Mitra on Wednesday said their "friendly relationship" had been proved.

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