Kolkata, January 23
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday declined to speak at an official programme to celebrate Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s 125th birth anniversary after “Jai Shri Ram” slogans were raised from the audience in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
She said such “insult” was unacceptable.
The BJP claimed that Banerjee’s reaction reflects her mindset of appeasement politics, while the ruling Trinamool Congress said no one can teach lumpens to be dignified.
The Congress came out in support of her saying that raising slogans in this way is an insult to the chief minister, as the CPI(M) described the incident as “disgraceful to the state”.
After it was announced that Banerjee will now address the programme, “Jai Shri Ram” slogans were raised by a section of the audience at the lawn of Victoria Memorial Hall where the event was being held.
“This is a government programme and not a political programme. There has to be dignity. It doesn’t behove anybody to invite people and insult. I won’t speak. Jai Bangla, Jai Hind,” she said, wrapping up.
#WATCH | I think Govt’s program should have dignity. This is not a political program….It doesn’t suit you to insult someone after inviting them. As a protest, I won’t speak anything: WB CM Mamata Banerjee after ‘Jai Shree Ram’ slogans were raised when she was invited to speak pic.twitter.com/pBvVrlrrbb
— ANI (@ANI) January 23, 2021
Reacting to the development, the TMC’s chief spokesperson Derek O’ Brien said no one can teach dignity.
“Dignity (noun) The state or quality of being worthy of honour and respect. You cant teach dignity. Nor can you teach lumpens to be dignified. Here is a one-min video of what exactly happened today. Including the dignified response by @MamataOfficial,” he said in a tweet, sharing the video clip.
The BJP leadership, however, saw nothing wrong with the “Jai Shri Ram” slogans.
“None of the dignitaries said anything. Why did she lose her cool? It reflects her mindset of appeasement politics. (She) appeases a particular community before elections,” BJP national general secretary and Bengal-minder Kailash Vijayvargiya told PTI.
Assembly polls are due in the state in April-May this year.
The saffron party’s state unit chief Dilip Ghosh said “Jai Shri Ram” is not a political slogan.
“Why does she losses her cool every time someone raises this slogan? She should not have reacted like this.
People raise this slogan because she reacts like this,” Ghosh said.
BJP leader and grandnephew of Netaji, Chandra Kumar Bose, said there is nothing wrong with the slogan and Netaji’s birth anniversary should not be mixed with politics.
In a statement, state Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said some people insulted the chief minister of West Bengal by raising the slogan when she stood up to address the programme.
“By raising Jai Sri Ram slogan in a government function, they have not only insulted her, but also the CM of the state, deliberately. They have also insulted a woman in public. I may be her political rival but I strongly condemn it,” Chowdhury, also the Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha said.
Senior CPI(M) leader and Left Front chairman Biman Bose described the incident as disgraceful to the state .
However, he also asked the chief minister to ensure that functions of the state government are not turned into political events.
Claiming that Banerjee turns every government programme from block level to the state secretariat into her party’s event, CPI(M) leader Md Salim expressed hope that the chief minister will not do it as long as she is in the chair. PTI