Kolkata: After harping on the festival of Ram Navami, more popular in the Hindi-speaking States, for three consecutive years in Bengal, where Durga or Kali is closer home, the State unit of the BJP has decided to incorporate the chant ‘Jai Ma Kali’ among its religious-political slogans.
The chant of ‘Jai Sri Ram’ not only found Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee irked on more occasions than one, but the Trinamool has also accused the BJP of bringing in outsiders who do not understand the culture of Bengal.
Hindu turn of Bengal, Bengali turn of Hindutva
Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and possible heir Abhishek Banerjee, in a bid to slam the BJP for the switch, could not quite phrase his objection in a manner that nobody would find objectionable. He said, “They (BJP) have decided to change the slogan from ‘Jai Sri Ram’ to ‘Jai Ma Kali’ as the TRP of Ram is on a downward slide. They are mixing religion with politics.”
It is doubtful even the worshippers of Durga or Kali would like Lord Rama’s association with a television viewers’ rating unit.
Some media houses have reported that the new slogan of the BJP is “Jai Maha Kali”, which is but not a popular chant in Bengal. It is closer to the Gorkha war cry.
Hindu fervour added to the disenchantment with the Trinamool rule in Bengal to give the BJP 18 seats this Lok Sabha election whereas it had won a mere two seats in 2014. The Trinamool, which saw nearly no competition in the 2016 Assembly election, had to contend with a mere 22 Lok Sabha seats.
Mamata’s ‘Jai Hind’, ‘Jai Bangla’ do not disturb BJP
After Banerjee issued the threat of arresting those who were found chanting ‘Jai Sri Ram’, BJP MP from Asansol Babul Supriyo had said his party would send 10 lakh ‘Jai Sri Ram’ postcards to the chief minister. That was followed by the Trinamool hitting upon the idea to send back to the BJP cards carrying the slogans ‘Jai Hind’ and ‘Jai Bangla’. On Tuesday, the BJP said it welcomed cards with these slogans as they are nationalistic.
Historically, the slogan ‘Jai Bangla’ has been associated with the independence (or carving out) of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971. In the Bengali language, ‘Jai Bangla’ refers also to conjunctivitis, as a massive outbreak of the eye ailment coincided with the period of Mukti Bahini’s fight with Pakistan Army.
Meanwhile, Kailash Vijayvargiya, in charge of the BJP in Bengal, said his party would campaign with the slogans ‘Jai Ma Kali’ and ‘Jai Sri Ram’ until the Trinamool government was ousted from the State.
In the meantime, Banerjee donned her ‘secular’ mantle once again — she is often mocked at for her pose offering namaz — as the Bengal chief minister on Monday attended an Iftar that the Kolkata Municipal Corporation had organised and shared some photos of the occasion on Twitter.
“People from all communities and all walks of life were present. My prayers for unity, peace, prosperity and happiness for all,” Banerjee said.
“Today, like previous years, I took part in Iftar organised by Kolkata Municipal Corporation,” Mamata said.
Today, like previous years, I took part in Iftar organised by Kolkata Municipal Corporation.
People from all communities and all walks of life were present.
My prayers for unity, peace, prosperity and happiness for all.
Some pictures of today’s occasion pic.twitter.com/Kxg4RGvMzX
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) June 3, 2019
সকলকে জানাই খুশীর ঈদের শুভেচ্ছা ও অভিনন্দন। ধর্ম যার যার, উৎসব সবার। আসুন, বৈচিত্রের মধ্যে ঐক্যের এই ধারাকে বজায় রাখি। একতাই সম্প্রীতি – এটাই হোক আমাদের মন্ত্র। #EidMubarak pic.twitter.com/4F56ex3bGP
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) June 4, 2019