New Delhi: The BJP's 'Jai Shri Ram' slogans seem to have once again politically trapped West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as the former is linking her anger on the issue as one of "minority appeasement" in the eastern state slated to go to Assembly elections this year.
The BJP has made a huge issue of her refusal to deliver a speech at the 125 birth anniversary celebrations of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 23 as she was miffed at shouting of 'Jai Shri Ram' slogans by a section of the audience.
The BJP claimed that she considered the slogans as "insulting" in order to appease the Muslims in the state.
On the other hand, the Chief Minister alleged that the commemoration function had been reduced to a political one and said that it was not right to invite someone to such an event and then insult him or her. She also talked of maintaining the dignity of the programme.
It is not the first time in West Bengal that such slogans have been politicised. Banerjee had expressed anger when some persons had shouted such slogans as her convoy passed through Bhatpara in North 24 Parganas district in May 2019. Eight persons had been arrested for the incident and accused of abusing her. The BJP had even then made it a big political issue.
Political analyst Ratanmani said that the BJP was sharpening its Hindutva agenda in Bengal through slogans of 'Jai Shri Ram'. "However, the Trinamool Congress chief is helping the BJP cause by showing her displeasure. She can ignore such slogans, rather than make the BJP's job easier."
BJP national General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya claimed that Mamata Banerjee considered greetings with 'Jai Shri Ram' slogans as an insult. "Mamata set a political agenda on the slogan on a very sacred platform. It is appeasement of the minorities. We condemn the setting of a political agenda at a forum where the Prime Minister was present in view of the coming elections," the BJP West Bengal affairs incharge said.