The BJP on Monday said that it will continue campaigning in West Bengal with the slogans "Jai Shri Ram" and "Jai Maha Kali" until the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress is ousted from power.
"Our slogans in Bengal would be 'Jai Shri Ram' and 'Jai Maha Kali'. Bengal is the land of Maha Kali, and we need the goddess' blessings," Kailash Vijayvargiya, party general secretary and West Bengal in-charge, told reporters during his first visit to the eastern state after the BJP's stunning performance in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections. The party won 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state, with the Trinamool Congress just barely ahead with 22.
Mr Vijayvargiya said that the BJP's work in Bengal will not be complete until it overthrows Mamata Banerjee. "I wonder why Mamata Banerjee always gets angry when people shout 'Jai Shri Ram' slogans. Is chanting it a crime? If so, why? We would like her government to explain," he said, adding that his party is against the Trinamool Congress' policies of "appeasement, terror tactics and oppression of opposition parties".
Incidentally, the inclusion of "Jai Maha Kali" in the BJP's list of slogans comes at a time when the Trinamool Congress has dubbed it as a party of outsiders with little knowledge of Bengali culture. The Chief Minister, who has accused the BJP of creating unrest in the state by "mixing politics with religion", encountered protesters shouting the "Jai Shri Ram" slogan on at least two occasions since April. BJP leader Arjun Singh has even launched a campaign involving the bulk-mailing of postcards with the slogan to Mamata Banerjee at her residential address.
The Trinamool Congress chief has maintained that she does not have a problem with the "Jai Shri Ram" slogan, only with the way the BJP is using it to "divide" people. "Slogans like 'Jai Sia Ram', 'Jai Ramji Ki' and 'Ram Naam Satya Hai' have religious and social connotations. We respect these sentiments, but the BJP is using the 'Jai Shri Ram' slogan in a misconceived manner by mixing religion with politics," she wrote.
The BJP will hold a day-long review meeting of its electoral performance in the state on Tuesday.
(With inputs from PTI)