After Mamata Banerjee’s knee-jerk reactions, BJP plans to bait her with Jai Shri Ram slogans
The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party will continue to bait West Bengal chief minister Mamta Banerjee with chants of ‘Jai Sri Ram’ during her tours in the state, party leaders said on Sunday even as Banerjee accused the saffron party of mixing religion with politics,
In a Facebook post on Sunday, Banerjee said she has no problem with the slogan of Jai Sri Ram if used in religious connotations. “The BJP is using religious slogan such as Jai Sri Ram as their party slogan in a misconceived manner by mixing religion with politics. We do not respect this forcible enforcement of political slogans on others in the name of so called RSS which Bengal never accepted. This is a deliberate attempt to sell hate ideology through vandalism and violence which we must oppose together,” Banerjee said.
The BJP’s strategy to use the slogan at her public events comes after Banerjee got out of her car on two occasions --- in East Midnapore district on May 5 and in North 24 Parganas district on May 30 --- and started shouting at people chanting the slogan. She alleged that it was an invective meant to insult her and asked police to take action. Police detained a few people before releasing them for want of evidence.
In North 24 Parganas district, three TMC turncoats - BJP’s newly-elected Barrackpore MP Arjun Singh, the party’s election strategist Mukul Roy and the latter’s son and MLA Subhranshu - have wrested a Lok Sabha seat, an assembly seat and are now eyeing to take control of at least four municipalities. Banerjee refers the trio as ‘gaddar’ (traitor) at every public meeting.
Arjun Singh said that the party workers will welcome her with Jai Shri Ram slogans whenever she tours the state. “Thousands of men and women will chant Jai Sri Ram. Women will also blow conch shells in keeping with tradition. I don’t think police will allow us to use loudspeakers. We will make up with our numbers,” Singh said, adding that about a million post cards with Jai Sri Ram written on them will also be sent to her.
Elaborating the strategy, another BJP leader, said, women workers will lead the crowd along the route to be followed by Banerjee’s motorcade and also at the venue of the meeting. “Every time she loses her cool we will make videos and circulate them on social media,” said the leader, who did not want to be named.
Banerjee’s close aide and Kolkata mayor Firhad Hakim, who was greeted with the Jai Sri Ram slogan at a religious function on Sunday, said: “There is nothing wrong if a pious man chants Jai Sri Ram. But here, hooligans are using it to spread unrest.”
“Had people chanted ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, the traditional slogan of the Rashtriya Shyamsevak Sangh, the ideological parent of BJP, Banerjee could not have said anything. Her reaction is not unexpected because those chanting Jai Sri Ram are actually throwing a political challenge at her. It is an open challenge and she is retaliating openly,” said economics professor at Calcutta University and political observer Sarthak Roychowdhury.