State BJP president Dilip Ghosh on Monday appealed to the Trinamool Congress government to withdraw its decision on total lockdown on August 5, the day scheduled for "bhoomi pujan" (groundbreaking ceremony) at Ayodhya for the Ram temple, and said the decision reflects the ruling party's strategy to turn "West Bengal into Bangladesh".
If dates of the lockdown could be changed keeping in mind the Eid festival on August 1, then why can't the same be done on August 5 keeping in mind celebrations for the Ram temple "bhoomi pujan" across the country, he questioned.
"We appeal to the state government to change the date of the August 5 lockdown. We had no problem with state government changing dates for the lockdown due to the Eid festival. Similarly the sentiment of the Hindus over the construction of Ram Mandir should not be ignored," Mr Ghosh said.
"A lockdown on August 5 will not allow a suitable atmosphere for those who want to celebrate the historic day of bhoomi pujan for the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya. This mindset of the TMC government is a reflection of its strategy to turn West Bengal into Bangladesh," the BJP leader said.
The TMC leadership termed BJP's assertion as "baseless" and urged it to refrain from communal politics amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Everyone should keep in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Bengal and the entire country. This is not a time to pursue communal politics. In Bengal, we have witnessed harmony and brotherhood among all religions and cultures for decades; we should not spoil it," TMC senior leader and minister Firhad Hakim said.
The August 5 ceremony will mark the beginning of the construction of Ram temple after a decades-long title suit over the site at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh was settled by Supreme Court in November, 2019.
The West Bengal government has decided to impose a biweekly complete lockdown in the state to break the chain of COVID-19 transmission.
Total lockdown will be in place on August 5, 8, 16, 17, 23, 24 and 31, as a part of state government's clampdown strategy.