West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday demanded cancellation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s candidature from Varanasi for “shamelessly indulging in horse trading”, a day after he claimed 40 TMC MLAs were in touch with him.

Making a sensational claim in the middle of the general election, Modi had said on Monday that 40 TMC MLAs were in touch with him and will desert their party once the BJP wins the polls.

“Modi said yesterday that 40 Trinamool Congress workers (MLAs) are in talks with the BJP. Look how shamelessly he is indulging in horse trading. His candidature should be immediately cancelled. He has no right to continue as the PM,” Banerjee said at a rally in Hooghly district.

The firebrand Trinamool Congress chief also said that people usually revere national leaders, but Modi was an exception.

Likening the prime minister with Gabbar Singh, the antagonist in the 1975 blockbuster ‘Sholay’, she said, “National leaders like Netaji (Subhas Chandra Bose) are revered and loved by all. It is only people like Modi and Gabbar Singh that people are scared of.”

“What has he done in the last five years? Farmers are committing suicide, unemployment is on the rise,” she said.

The chief minister also said the BJP will not be able to establish a foothold in West Bengal, no matter how much the party “daydreams” about it.

“Modi is daydreaming about getting a foothold in West Bengal. His dream will never come true,” she added.

In the national capital, the TMC wrote to the Election Commission, alleging that Modi’s speech indicates an “impending horse-trading” and asked the poll panel to cancel his nomination for such “provocative and undemocratic” statements.

In its letter to the EC, the TMC demanded “strong action” for the “unfounded, inappropriate and illegal” campaign and utterances of the prime minister.

“You (EC) are thus requested to ask Mr. Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister, for evidence in support of his statement, failing which his nomination should be cancelled for violation of the Model Code of Conduct by making such provocative and undemocratic statements,” the letter said.