There seems to be little respite for Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in her battle with the BJP, with Unnao parliamentarian Sakshi Maharaj today attacking the Trinamoool Congress leader as belonging to the "family of demon Hiranyakashyap" because she "conspires against those who say 'Jai Shri Ram'."
The legend of Hiranyakashyap refers to an ancient Hindu ruler who is believed to have put his son Prahlad behind bars and tortured him for believing in God.
"There was a rakshasa (demon) called Hiranyakashyap. His son said 'Jai Shri Ram' and the father shut his son in jail. The same thing is being repeated in Bengal and it looks like Mamata belongs to the family of demon Hiranyakashyap as she conspires against those who say 'Jai Shri Ram'," the BJP leader was quoted as saying in a report by ANI.
Sakshi Maharaj, BJP MP from Unnao: Ek rakshas tha Hiranyakashyap, uske bete ne kaha tha 'Jai Shri Ram,' baap ne bete ko jail mein band kar diya tha. Aur wahi Bengal mein dohraya ja raha hai toh lagta hai ki Hiranyakashyap ke khandan ki toh nahi hain Mamata. pic.twitter.com/p8rIAGxA4W— ANI (@ANI) June 2, 2019
Ms Banerjee and the BJP have engaged in a bitter war of words that started with the Lok Sabha election and led to poll-related violence in the state, and included name-calling, allegations of corruption and the repeated chanting of 'Jai Shri Ram'.
"Those who say 'Jai Shri Ram' are being sent to jail. The result is such that those who say this are faced by Mamata in gullies and streets and (I) don't know in her anger, what plans she may have," Sakshi Maharaj continued.
Sakshi Maharaj, BJP MP from Unnao: 'Jai Shri Ram' kehne walon ko jail mein bheja ja raha hai, parinaam ye hogya hai ki 'Jai Shri Ram' kehne se vo (West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee) khisiyane lagin, sadak pe utarne lagin, aur us ke virodh mein pata nahi kya-kya yojnaein banane lagin https://t.co/HxWV7nRMjO— ANI (@ANI) June 2, 2019
In a Facebook post today, the Bengal Chief Minister, who refused to attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi's swearing-in ceremony after accusing him of lying over political murders in Bengal, alleged the BJP was using the slogan to "create unrest in West Bengal by mixing religion with politics".
"This is a deliberate attempt to sell hatred ideology through vandalism and violence, which we must oppose together," she wrote.
On Saturday newly-elected BJP legislator Arjun Singh threatened to send the chief minister "10 lakh post cards with 'Jai Shri Ram' written on them" and, on Thursday, she was similarly heckled while driving through Bhatpara area of North 24 Parganas district. On that occasion, she charged at the people, calling them "criminals" and "outsiders".
Sakshi Maharaj has a history of making shocking comments.
While campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls, he threatened voters with "bad karma" if they did not vote for him. He also threatened his own party, saying "if the party takes any other decisions pertaining to me, there is every possibility that the people will feel hurt and the result may not be good".
Last year he had demanded that Delhi's iconic Jama Masjid be demolished as, he claimed, it was constructed on the ruins of a Hindu temple.
With input from ANI