Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee on Tuesday mocked the BJP for claiming to be a follower of Swami Vivekananda and said the people of the state will never allow "hate politics" of the saffron camp to triumph in Bengal, where the monk was born in 1863. The BJP has no right to celebrate Swamiji's birthday, the Trinamool Congress MP from Diamond Harbour said while addressing a rally in south Kolkata.
"West Bengal, which is the birthplace Swami Vivekananda, has no place for hate politics imported from Gujarat", he said. The 158th birth anniversary of the monk, a key figure who had introduced Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the western world and established the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission, is being celebrated on Tuesday.
Calling the BJP as "fake Ram Bhakts", he accused the saffron party of "following the principles of Nathuram Godse who had assassinated Mahatma Gandhi". "They claim to be followers of Lord Ram. They are not followers of Ram, they are followers of Nathuram (Godse). They are followers of divisive politics," he said.
Abhishek Banerjee is Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's nephew. "I don't want to politicise today's event. But, I must say one thing that a political party is trying to portray itself to be a follower of Swami Vivekananda. I want to tell BJP members that Swamiji never preached hate politics and communalism, which is the basis of the saffron party," he said.
Accusing the BJP of insulting icons of Bengal such as Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Banerjee said, none of them propagated pitting one religion against other, like the BJP. "The people of Bengal and the land of Vivekananda, which is his birthplace, will reject the hate politics practised by the saffron party.
"The BJP has passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) according to which a person will get citizenship based on religion. Did Swamiji ever say that citizenship should be granted after determining one's religion?" the MP asked. According to the CAA, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
The Trinamool Youth Congress, led by Abhishek Banerjee, took out a five-km long rally in the city on Tuesday commemorating the birth anniversary of the 19th-century monk. The TMC and its youth wing also took out rallies in various parts of the state.
The monk's birth anniversary has triggered a war of political one-upmanship between the TMC and the BJP, with the saffron party also lining up several programmes across the state to celebrate the day.