Even though BJP has left no opportunity to attack Mamata Banerjee on the issue of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ slogan hurled at Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s 125th birth anniversary event, the party leadership has reportedly not taken the incident well.
After the cultural event, dedicated to Netaji on January 23 at Kolkata’s Victoria Memorial, the West Bengal Chief Minister was scheduled to deliver a speech alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
However, inapposite and repeated slogans of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ coming from the crowd saw her getting visibly irritated. “I thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Cultural Ministry for conducting this programme in Kolkata. But to humiliate an invitee in such a manner is not appropriate,” Banerjee said.
“I think a government programme such as this should have some dignity. This is not a political programme. As a protest, I refuse to speak anything else,” she added before coming down from the podium.
Soon after a political war kicked off with BJP targetting Banerjee for her “intolerant” behaviour to an “apolitical and religious” slogan.
However, a report carried by Bengali daily Sangbad Pratidin suggests that sections of saffron party leadership and RSS are not happy with how things unfolded.
Sangh has let their disappointment known by saying that politically it was not right to shout ‘Jai Shree Ram’ at an event dedicated to Netaji – one of the biggest Bengali icons and a staunch secularist.
A separate report by Hindustan Times has quoted RSS Bengal unit general secretary Jishnu Basu as saying that those who raised the slogan did not “show respect to Ram”.
“The Sangh is unhappy with what happened. Those who raised the slogan neither showed respect to Netaji nor showed respect to Ram. The event was held to pay homage to Netaji. Those who shouted ‘Jai Shri Ram’ must be identified…the party (Bharatiya Janata Party) must find out who were involved and whether this was an act of sabotage of some sort,” the RSS functionary said.
Some Bengal BJP leaders have also echoed the same, even though prominent saffron faces in the state such as Kailash Vijayvargiya and Sayantan Basu have continued saying that they didn’t find any fault at what happened in Victoria Memorial.
Vijayvargiya, BJP’s chief convener in West Bengal, even said said that Banerjee had “insulted Netaji to appease 30% voters in West Bengal”.
He said, “There is a decorum of a Prime Minister’s event. There is decorum of an event on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. To set a political agenda there is unfortunate. It was also an insult to Netaji.”
“In Bengal, the slogan of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ is used to welcome someone. When the Prime Minister came, the slogan was raise. When the Cultural Minister came, it was raised. When Mamata Banerjee came, then also the slogan of ‘Jai Shree Ram’ was raised.
“What’s there in that slogan for her to feel insulted! It is unfortunate that she is setting a political agenda like this. She has done it deliberately to appease 30% voters in the state. We’ve always said that the TMC governement belongs to only 30%. The rest 70% has always been deprived here,” said BJP’s national general secretary.
However, the Trinamool Congress supremo found CPIM and Congress in her support in hitting the Prime Minister and BJP for destroying the sanctity of the event on Netaji.
West Bengal Pradesh Congress Committee chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury attacked BJP and those who shouted the ‘Jai Shree Ram’ slogans, saying that it was an insult to the elected Chief Minister of West Bengal.
“I can be an opposition leader to her politics but what happened at the Victoria Memorial was not required. It feels bad to see the Chief Minister being insulted like that. She was humiliated intentionally,” Chowdhury, the chief opposition leader in the Lok Sabha, said.
On the other hand, CPIM leader Mohammad Selim said, “Our political views might be different. But to hurl such inappropriate slogans at the Chief Minister in a government programme is reprehensible and ugly. It shows who had filled the seats of the programme hosted by the central government.”