Mumbai, January 25
Days after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee declined to speak at an event where ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans were raised, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said nobody should feel pain while chanting the slogan.
Talking to reporters here on Monday, Raut said he is sure Mamata Banerjee also had faith in Lord Ram.
Banerjee on Saturday declined to speak at an official programme to celebrate Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s 125th birth anniversary in Kolkata after ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans were raised from the audience in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
She said such “insult” was unacceptable.
Asked about the BJP accusing Banerjee of feeling pained when chanting the slogan, Raut said, “Nobody should feel pained to say ‘Jai Shri Ram’ in the country.”
“Nobody’s secularism will be under threat by saying ‘Jai Shri Ram’. We think Lord Ram is the pride of the country,” he said.
“‘Jai Shri Ram’ is not any political word. It is a matter of our faith, and I am sure that Mamata didi also has faith in Lord Ram,” the Rajya Sabha member said.
An editorial in Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ also said Banerjee should not have got upset when ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans were raised by some people during the programme.
“Rather, tables would have turned on them (those who raised slogans) had she mixed her voice among theirs. But everyone is catering to their own vote banks,” it said.
The BJP had identified Banerjee’s “weak point” and it would keep playing up such sensitive issues until the Assembly elections (in West Bengal) were over, it said.
The editorial also launched a veiled attack on the BJP, accusing it of poaching TMC leaders in West Bengal to defeat the Mamata Banerjee-led party in the forthcoming polls in that state.
It said the leadership of West Bengal, Punjab and Maharashtra were at the forefront of the country’s freedom struggle.
The three states are fighting for their self-pride at present also and the Centre is against them, it claimed.
Farmers from Punjab, who are agitating against the Centre’s new farm laws near Delhi border, are allegedly being trampled, it said.
Maharashtra is being targeted in a “pre-decided” manner, the Marathi daily alleged, apparently referring to notices by central agencies to some of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) leaders.
The BJP poached Congress and NCP leaders ahead of the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly polls and gave them candidature, it alleged, saying most of such candidates had got elected.
“What happened in Maharashtra is (now) happening in West Bengal. (BJP) doesn’t have anything of its own. It creates its legion poaching with whom it is going to fight. It happened in Bihar. Now, struggle is on to defeat the TMC by poaching TMC (leaders),” the Shiv Sena charged.
West Bengal forest minister Rajib Banerjee quit the Mamata Banerjee cabinet recently, joining the growing list of dissenters who have put the ruling camp in a tight spot ahead of the Assembly elections.
The editorial said the BJP winning 18 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal is a matter of concern for Mamata Banerjee.
“But this Bengal tigress (Mamata Banerjee) is the one who fights on the streets and will keep fighting,” it added. PTI