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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Abhishek affirms TMC's respect for saffron amidst monk row

Describing Vivekananda as the spiritual icon of Bengalis who made the state and the country proud across the world, Banerjee said the colour saffron has been disrespected by Yogi Adityanath's party, which has violated the ideals espoused by Swamiji.
Last Updated : 19 May 2024, 16:49 IST
Last Updated : 19 May 2024, 16:49 IST

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Nayagram: Amid a row over West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accusing some monks of working in favour of the BJP in the elections, senior Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee on Sunday said his party and the state's people always hold deep respect for saffron, the colour symbolising sacrifice as embodied by Swami Vivekananda.

Describing Vivekananda as the spiritual icon of Bengalis who made the state and the country proud across the world, Banerjee said the colour saffron has been disrespected by Yogi Adityanath's party (BJP), which has violated the ideals espoused by Swamiji and other great monks and luminaries of Bengal.

"Yes, we are reverential to the colour saffron, which reminds us about Swami Vivekananda and Shri Shri Ramakrishna Paramanhsa. We don't subscribe to the ideology of BJP and it's saffron robe wearing Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. We hate the divisive ideology of Adityanath under whose rule attacks on dalits and minorities have increased," Banerjee said at an election rally in support of the TMC's Ghatal candidate Dev, who is seeking re-election for the third term.

Drawing attention to the vandalism of the bust of polymath and social reformer Pandit Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar during the 2019 general polls, the TMC national general secretary remarked, "This incident occurred during Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata."

"Those who vandalise Vidyasagar's statue, those who label Vivekananda as a leftist and claim his ideals are obsolete, those who are unaware of Rabindranath Tagore's birthplace, should refrain from speaking. They are anti-Bengal," he added.

Abhishek Banerjee highlighted that Bengali social reformer Rammohan Roy played a pivotal role in abolishing the inhumane Hindu custom of Sati, thereby saving the lives of countless widows. He emphasised that the TMC understands how to honour luminaries like Rammohan Roy, Vidyasagar, and Vivekananda. He added, "We do not need to take lessons from the BJP, which only propagates messages of religious hatred."

"PM is changing the names of stations, he is changing names of localities, he wants to change the name of India to Bharat. Let us change our PM in this election," he said.

Banerjee also alleged that Modi had made disparaging comments about "fish eaters" which showed his ignorance about certain rituals and religious practices followed by Bengali Hindus and several other Hindu sects and communities.

Alleging that the Modi government is charging money for linking Aadhaar with bank accounts of citizens, he said the money is being used by BJP to "run false ad campaigns of Modi."

The Diamond Harbour MP said the CPI(M) had unleashed a reign of terror in Paschim Medinipur during its 34 year rule and thousands of rival party activists were killed and their bodies dumped.

"Now the 'harmads' (tormentors and killers) of CPI(M) are donning the jersey of BJP," he said.

Earlier at a meeting at Nayagram in Jhargram Lok Sabha seat, Banerjee accused the BJP of using tribal communities as a vote bank while neglecting their interests.

He claimed that in the past five years, the BJP government had prevented their own party MP Kunar Hembram from working towards the economic development of various tribal communities.

"Jhargram MP Kunar Hembram, who joined the TMC from BJP at this meeting, recounted how every attempt he made to secure funds from Delhi for regional development was obstructed and ignored by the party's top leadership. He felt suffocated in the BJP and realised he was in the wrong party," Banerjee said.

Hembram joined the TMC in Banerjee's presence at the rally.

Accusing the BJP of inciting unrest in Junglemahal region, Banerjee said, "A year ago, our convoy was stopped in Jhargram by a mob that pelted stones at the car of my accompanying leader, Minister Birbaha Hansda. Though they were demanding rights for the Kurmi community in Junglemahal region, it was clear from their slogans, attire, and appearance that they were BJP activists masquerading as local Kurmi community members."

Banerjee emphasised the state government's support for SC, ST, and OBC communities, citing the increased monthly allowance for women from backward communities under the Lakshmir Bhandar empowerment project for poor women.

"What is Modi's 10-year report card apart from dividing people and spreading falsehoods?" he questioned.

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Published 19 May 2024, 16:49 IST

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