CPI(M) politburo member and former MP Muhammad Salim today criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his decision to rename the Kolkata Port Trust after Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, contending that the rechristening will have no material impact on the port’s performance. He also said Prime Minister today used Belur Mutt and KoPT programmes as a political platform to preach for Citizenship (Amendment) ACT(CAA) and for other vested political purposes.

“Students require jobs after completion of their education. Mr Modi did not utter a single line whether the Centre is creating any job opportunity for unemployed youths. Why he did not fulfill his promise to bring back black money from the foreign countries?” he said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while speaking at the 150th anniversary programme of the Kolkata Port Trust on Sunday, had announced that it will be renamed after the Bharatiya Jan Sangh founder.

“Changing of the name of the KoPT will not create any employment opportunity in KoPT, nor will it develop the infrastructure of the port. When Narendra Modi came to power, we thought the government will be a game changer. Now, we see that the government is a name changer,” Mr Salim said. He also said that ideally, the navigability of the Haldia Dock Complex (part of KoPT) should have been increased by improving its draft. He also said the BJP leaders are misleading the people with various interpretations of the CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

BJP’s national secretary Rahul Sinha, meanwhile, said that CPI-M party comrades used to insult Swami Vivekananda and Ramakrishna. “The Prime Minister today paid his homage to Swami Vivekananda at Belur Math and KoPT programmes. There was no political programme. CPI-M should condemn their party leaders as they made derogatory comments several times against Swami Vivekananda and Ramakrishna in the past. So they have no moral rights to criticise the Prime Minister regarding his speech on Swamiji,” said Mr Sinha.

As controversy brewed over the speech of the Prime Minister at Belur Math, the monastic order distanced itself from his speech, soon after Mr Modi had left the premises of the Belur temple, saying it is an apolitical organisation where people of all religious faiths live like “brothers of same parents”. “Ramakrishna Mission will not comment on PM’s speech. We are strictly an apolitical body. We cannot comment on the PM’s speech on CAA. We have come here after leaving our homes to answer to eternal call. We do not respond to ephemeral call,” Ramakrishna Math and Mission general secretary Swami Suvirananda, told reporters.

“We are above politics. To us Narendra Modi is the leader of India and Mamata Banerjee is the leader of West Bengal,” he said, adding, “We are inclusive as an organisation which has monks from Hindu, Islam, Christian (faiths). We live like more than brothers of same parents”. Meanwhile, CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechury said the voices of those protesting against the contentious citizenship law, NRC and National Population Register (NPR) cannot be muzzled, as he hailed the protests in West Bengal during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit.

Activists, who hit the streets on Saturday with placards that read ‘Modi Go Back’ and ‘Down with BJP’, continued their sit-in all night at Esplanade area of Kolkata, insisting that their agitation would continue till the Prime Minister leaves the city. “The voices of those resisting the discriminatory CAA-NRCNPR cannot be muzzled,” Yechury tweeted. “The PM is out of touch and thinks he can brazen it out. He cannot. India’s young have arrived and will take this country forward,” the CPI-M leader said.