West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s refusal to speak amid ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans at a government of India function in Kolkata to mark the 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose can work in the TMC’s favour as it ties in with the party’s “insider-outsider” plank for the upcoming Assembly election, said party leaders.
The leaders, however, admitted this was a “sensitive issue”, and it is important not to give the impression that the TMC government is “against the Jai Shri Ram” slogan per se. Instead, they said, the party wants to underline that the slogan is being pushed into the lexicon of Bengal politics at the “behest of outsiders who do not understand Bengal”.
Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, Chief Whip of TMC in Rajya Sabha, said TMC looked at the matter not only as an insult to the Chief Minister, but also to the legacy of Bose.
“It is unbecoming of a Ram bhakt. If someone was to raise some other slogan on Ram Navami, how would they feel? According to me, on the 125th birthday of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, as a mark of respect to Netaji and soldiers of Azad Hind Fauj who laid down their lives for the freedom of our motherland, the slogan that should be raised is Jai Hind,” Ray said.
“In such functions only invitees are allowed. Here the chief guest was the Prime Minister. The dignity of the Prime Minister should have been reckoned with. I have no objection with people raising ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans…