Political slugfest over Swami Vivekananda continued between TMC and BJP on his 158th birth anniversary on Tuesday. Both the parties began their day-long celebrations with floral tributes to the Hindu monk at his residence in Kolkata.

Suvendu Adhikari led the BJP camp as he reached Vivekananda’s home in north Kolkata’s Shimla Street early in the morning.

Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya followed suit and garlanded the statue of Swami Vivekananda with flowers.

Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay and state minister Sashi Panja also paid tributes to him, whose birth anniversary is celebrated as National Youth Day.

The hindutva brigade, which consider Vivekananda as one of their idolising figures, marched from Shyambazar to Shimla Street to pay tributes to the Bengali icon.

Organised by the BJP’s Yuva Morcha, the event was attended by senior Bengal BJP leaders like Mukul Roy, Dilip Ghosh, Rahul Sinha and Saumitra Khan and Swapan Dasgupta.

Interestingly, common citizens have been barred by the administration from going to Vivekananda’s Shimla Street residence, citing concerns related to COVID-19 pandemic.

A towering spiritual philosopher, Vivekananda, was born in 1863 in Kolkata and is credited for popularising the Vedantic ideas. Taking to Twitter, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who is scheduled to visit Swamiji’s ancestral house during the day to pay tributes, said, “Youth empowerment is key to Bharat becoming Vishwa Guru (world leader).”

Paying tributes to Swamiji, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “His message of peace and universal brotherhood is of utmost relevance today and inspires all of us to strive hard in safeguarding these ideals in our beloved nation.” Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha, said the spirit that the great saint imparted to the world is eternal. “The solution of all human problems lies in his noble and divine thoughts,” Mr Chowdhury wrote on the microblogging site.

Trinamool Congress youth wing president and MP Abhishek Banerjee is scheduled to hold a rally later on Tuesday to pay tributes to Swamiji.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday addressed the valedictory function of the second National Youth Parliament Festival via video conferencing.

The event took place in the Central Hall and the Prime Minister also heard the views of the three young national winners of the Festival. Lok Sabha Speaker, Union Education Minister and Union MoS (I/C) for Youth Affairs & Sports were present on the occasion.

Remembering Swami Vivekananda on his birth anniversary, the Prime Minister remarked that even with the passage of time, impact and influence of Swami Vivekananda remains intact in our national life.