Trinamool-BJP battle it out over Bengal Ram Navami celebrations
Kolkata: With the West Bengal ruling party Trinamool Congress (TMC) and main opposition BJP leaving no stone unturned in their Ram Navami preparations this year, the occasion was celebrated on a massive scale here on Sunday.
While the TMC leaders termed their Ram Navami celebrations a symbol of harmony among the people, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) termed the ruling party's participation as a victory of the Hindus and the Hindutva agenda.
Claiming that Ram Navami has become a social festival in Bengal, BJP National Secretary Rahul Sinha said the magnitude of the celebration marks the victory of their Hindutva agenda.
He also welcomed the rallies taken out by the Trinamool, claiming that the state ruling party had to finally bow their heads and acknowledge the importance of the Hindu population in Bengal.
"This is a big victory for the BJP and it's Hindutva agenda. It is important that Trinamool Congress leaders had to bow down their heads to the Hindu population in the state. We welcome this. This is a victory for Lord Ram and Ram Navami," Sinha, who himself participated in a rally in Hooghly district's Chinsurah, said.
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Sinha said though the BJP was not organising any rallies, all its senior state leaders are participating in the processions organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Hindu Jagran Manch.
As many as six major Ram Navami rallies would be taken out in the city by the Sangh affiliate, with the rally from north Kolkata's Sovabazar expected to draw the biggest crowds.
State BJP President Dilip Ghosh, who was seen brandishing a sword at a rally in West Midnapore district's Kharagpur, said rallies with arms would be taken out in the area in the evening and claimed that so many people's participation shows the country is moving towards "Ram Rajya".
"There would be armed rally in Kharagpur. I will carry weapons myself. This has been an old tradition here to conduct armed rallies. It would continue. It seems we are approaching towards Ram Rajya. Those who did not want it, are also wanting it now. I am sure Ram Mandir would also be built in Ayodhya," Ghosh claimed.
BJP leader Mukul Roy, who defected from the TMC last year, was also seen leading a rally in north 24 Parganas district's Newtown area.
"Arms are nothing but symbols. No one carries arms in the rally to indulge in fights. I think the Trinamool government is trying to create an unnecessary controversy over the armed rallies on Ram Navami," he pointed out.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee extended greetings on social media.
State Minister of Biotechnology and Statistics Ashish Banerjee took out a colourful procession with dancers dressed as Ram and Sita in Birbhum district's Rampurhat.