Kolkata: The Trinamool Congress, which has often attacked RSS-BJP over its unusual fanfare on Ram Navami, jumped into the fray this year to take out processions in praise of Lord Ram.
The TMC supporters were heard shouting slogans of 'Jai Shree Ram', which till last year was associated with BJP and other saffron organisations. The rally also saw people dressed as Lord Ram and Hanuman with sounds of traditional dhak, giving the procession a festive feel — much like Durga Puja celebrations in the city.
The BJP has in the past hit out at Trinamool for being "biased" towards the minority community and not being "too forthcoming about Hindu festivities". Last year, chief minister Mamata Banerjee tried to proscribe weaponised Ram Navami marches, yet the participants were spotted with swords and tridents. For the last two years, state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh was named in first information reports for carrying weapons.
This year, again, the TMC government barred display of weapons during Ram Navami rallies, but with that, the party was seen twinning the Ram Navami processions.
"TMC has always been taking out Ram Navami rallies. The entire Hindu community celebrates the day. BJP brandished weapons during their rallies, we display love and affection in ours," said MLA Smita Bakshi, while taking part in the procession on Sunday in Jorasanko, which has a sizeable population of Hindi-speaking people. The legislator was also seen caryying a huge banner of Lord Ram.
With 'Hanuman Chalisa' playing loudly in the background, Bakshi asked people not to associate slogans of 'Jai Shree Ram' with BJP. "Anyone can say Jai Shree Ram. It is in the praise of Lord Ram," she added.
Both BJP and TMC have been at loggerheads over the festivities in West Bengal. While the BJP is known to propagate pro-Hindutva ideology, the TMC portrays itself as a "secular party that doesn't add a political colour to religion".
In recent times, TMC is trying hard to have an image of a party that propagates all festivals and does not want BJP to take the credit of gaining mileage over Ram Navami celebrations.