"This Is Country Of Ram": Bengal BJP, Trinamool Lock Horns On Ram Navami

If a dance with a mace or the "Jai Shri Ram" slogan could catch the attention of the voters, neither the BJP nor the Trinamool fought shy of doing the needful.

Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh marked the celebrations with a show of strength.


In West Bengal, the ruling Trinamool and the Bharatiya Janata Party held competitive Ram Navami events over the weekend; and though the sword was on limited display in comparison to last year, there was no beating about the bush.

If a dance with a mace or the "Jai Shri Ram" slogan could catch the attention of the voters, neither the BJP nor the Trinamool fought shy of doing the needful.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, campaigning in the cool Darjeeling, also felt the heat.

West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh marked the celebrations with a salute of the sword, and also with a demonstration of his dexterity with other symbolic weapons.

Mr Ghosh - the BJP legislator from Kharagpur in Medinipur district and the party's candidate for the Medinipur Lok Sabha seat - he suggested there was nothing wrong with using "Ram for politics".

"Those who are destroying the culture of Bengal, those who are using violence, shedding blood, destroying democracy, and attacking women, we will use the sword and mace against them. Ram was a king. I will do politics with him. Why are they doing politics with Allah here? This is the country of Ram. We will do Ram politics a thousand times," Mr Ghosh said.

West Bengal Chief Minister, campaigning in Siliguri for the Darjeeling seat, also felt the heat. Calling out the BJP for the show of strength on Ram Navami, she warned the party and said "such tactics would not work in Bengal".

"Some of them (BJP leaders and workers) are out with maces and swords on the streets to ask for votes today. What's the link with politics? Who will you hit with maces, or who will you behead with the sword? Remember, this is Bengal. These tactics don't work in Bengal," Ms Banerjee said.

"Who will wear saffron - those who sacrifice, those who are pure. Who are these people? They are wheeler dealers, nothing else, claiming to be everything," she added.

But Mamata Banerjee's party leaders and workers also celebrated Ram Navami with vigour, if not with swords and maces. They too were seen chanting slogans of "Jai Shri Ram".

Rita Tiwari, Trinamool councillor in Durgapur, about 170 km from Kolkata, led a march of supporters shouting "Jai Shri Ram" and danced to the drumbeats.

Dibyendu Adhikari, Trinamool lawmaker and candidate for Kanthi parliamentary seat, also performed a "havan" on Ram Navami and said "Ram is not BJP's property".

"Ram is not BJP's property. Ram is everybody's, across India for all Hindus. You can't do politics with Ram. Those who do politics with Ram will have to explain. We are not doing politics with Ram. They have turned Ram into a polling agent. Have they built the Ram Mandir? But they had promised. When they got the Ram idol here, there were BJP flags all around. That is politicalisation of Ram," Mr Adhikari said.

When it comes to Ram Navami, other political parties will have to follow the leader, the BJP candidate for Medinipur contended.

"Before the political parties came into being or the election commission or the government, Ram Navami was being celebrated in India. Ram Navami has become more popular after the Ram Mandir movement, and people are celebrating it everywhere. Trinamool is also celebrating, soon the CPM will too. The worship of Ram will continue. If a government opposes it, that government will go," he said.

Whether Ram Navami will sway voters in Bengal is open to debate, but in Bejdi village of West Burdwan district, a uniformed policeman with a gun hanging from his belt was reportedly seen suddenly grabbing a saffron turban and a "lathi". The video of his duel with a Ram Navami reveler, with wild abandon, has gone viral. It is not known if any action has been taken against him yet.

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