KOLKATA: In an apparent attack on the BJP, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said painting was her passion and she does not "eke out a living by selling her art work".
The chief minister's reaction comes after BJP national president Amit Shah's allegation on Tuesday that her paintings were bought by chit fund owners for crores of rupees.
In a counter attack, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo, on Wednesday, dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah to prove the allegation against her.
Launching a calendar featuring some of her sketches at the inauguration of International Kolkata Book Fair here, Banerjee said, "A friend told me that some people in Delhi may make adverse comments on the calendar. I said I would send copies to them anyway." The chief minister Said her only source of income was the royalty she received from her published books.
"I have been a Parliamentarian seven times, but I don't take a single anna of MP's pension. I don't even take MLA allowance. I paint because I am passionate about it, not because I want to make a living out of it.
"My only source of income comes from the royalty I get from my published books," she stated. Seven books of the chief minister, including one on the current political scenario, was published at the fair Thursday, taking the total number of her published works to 87.
Banerjee, during her speech, sought to "foil" the designs of "jealous people" who cannot appreciate Bengal's secular spirit.
"Bengal's enthusiasm to celebrate all festivals, be it Durga Puja, Saraswati Puja, Christmas or Eid, cannot be matched by any other place," she said.
Talking about the book fair, which entered its 43rd year, Banerjee said the event has no parallel in the world.
"The book fair is a ground for people to meet and share thoughts and opinions. It is an integral part of Kolkata's culture," she added.