The BJP on Sunday slammed the Bengal government for its decision to clamp total lockdown on August 5 – the day scheduled for 'bhumi pujan' (ground breaking ceremony) in Ayodhya for the Ram temple – contending that it reflected the "anti-Hindu mindset" of the ruling dispensation.
The TMC leadership, however, termed the assertion as "baseless" and urged the saffron party to "refrain from communal politics in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic".
Demanding immediate withdrawal of the order, BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha claimed that the "ruling TMC practises appeasement politics". "The state government withdrew shutdown on August 2, as there were Eid festivities the day before. When it came to one of the biggest occasions of independent India – the bhumi pujan for Ram Mandir on August 5 — the TMC dispensation decided to clamp a lockdown.
"Yes, it is true that there won't be any major celebration due to COVID-19, but the decision to impose total lockdown on Wednesday reflects the communal mindset of the TMC government," BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha said.
The August 5 ceremony will mark the beginning of the Ram temple's construction. A decades-long title suit over the site at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh was settled by the Supreme Court in November last year.
Echoing Sinha, BJP state president Dilip Ghosh said if the state government does not withdraw its decision, "it will face consequences".
"August 5 is one of the historic days of independent India and clamping of the total lockdown on that day amounts to insulting the sentiments of the majority community. If the state government doesn't withdraw its decision, it will face consequences," Ghosh said.
The West Bengal government had initially listed nine days in August for total lockdown enforcement in the state.
Later, it withdrew two days from the list, in view of the religious occasions on both the days.
Reacting to the allegations, a senior TMC leader said the state government's "decision had nothing to do with appeasement". "The entire country is fighting the pandemic, and the BJP is busy indulging in communal politics. They should refrain from doing so," the TMC leader said.
The Vishva Hindu Parishad leadership in Bengal had said last week that it would send sacred soil from major temples in West Bengal and holy water from 'Sangam', the confluence of the Ganga with other rivers, to Ayodhya for the August 5 ceremony.