Taking a swipe at the West Bengal government for deliberately selecting August 5 for Covid-19 lockdown when 'bhoomi pujan' (groundbreaking rituals) in Ayodhya for the construction of Ram temple is scheduled, the state BJP on Monday demanded the TMC ministry to shift the date like it did for the Eid festival.
Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said the decision (August 5 for lockdown) reflects the ruling party's strategy to turn "West Bengal into Bangladesh".
He sought change of the date like it was done keeping in mind the Eid festival on August 1, so that people of the state could join countrymen in celebrating Ram temple 'bhoomi pujan'.
"We had no problem with state government changing dates for the lockdown due to the Eid festival. Similarly the sentiment of the Hindus over the construction of Ram Mandir should not be ignored," Ghosh said. The state government had earlier selected August 2 along with other dates in the month for biweekly complete shutdown to break chain of COVID-19 transmission, but it (Sunday) was later taken out of the list keeping in mind the festivity.
Now August 5, 8, 16, 17, 23, 24 and 31 are the dates when the West Bengal will go for total lockdown to check rapid spread of virus.
"A lockdown on August 5 will not allow a suitable atmosphere for those who want to celebrate the historic day of bhoomi pujan for the Ram Mandir at Ayodhya. This mindset of the TMC government is a reflection of its strategy to turn West Bengal into Bangladesh," the BJP leader said.
The TMC leadership termed BJP's assertions as "baseless" and urged it to refrain from communal politics amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Everyone should keep in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Bengal and the entire country. This is not a time to pursue communal politics. "In Bengal, we have witnessed harmony and brotherhood among all religions and cultures for decades; we should not spoil it," TMC senior leader and minister Firhad Hakim said.
The August 5 ceremony will mark the beginning of the construction of Ram temple after a decades-long title suit over the site at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh was settled by Supreme Court in November, 2019. The BJP, which has emerged as the main challenger to TMC after winning 18 out of a total of 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal in the 2019 general election, only four less than TMC's tally of 22, has been blaming Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for "muslim appeasement." With the state assembly election due in Bengal in less than an year time, the saffron party do not miss any opportunity to hit out at the ruling party.