Mamata leads harmony rally, denounces BJP’s ‘religious politicisation’
KOLKATA — West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, far away from the consecration ceremony at Ayodhya’s Ram temple, led a harmony rally here, condemning the BJP’s religious politicization in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls and labelled the BJP as “anti-women” for “omitting” Goddess Sita from their discourse about Lord Ram.
Addressing the TMC’s ‘Sanhati Rally,’ which coincided with the Ayodhya event, Banerjee emphasised that pre-election religious politicisation should not lead to “the blood of the poor being offered at the altar of the deity as an offering (Prasad).”
“I don’t believe in politicising religion ahead of elections. I am against such practices. I have no objection to those worshipping Lord Ram, but I object to interference with the food habits of people,” she stated during the rally.
On Monday, Banerjee led an all-faith rally and visited diverse places of worship, including a temple, a mosque, a church and a gurdwara.
“I am not against Lord Ram. What about Goddess Sita? She was with Lord Ram during his exile. They (BJP) don’t speak about her; they are anti-women. We worship Goddess Durga; they should not lecture us about religion,” asserted the CM.
Reflecting upon TMC leader and her nephew Abhishek Banerjee’s recent statement that his religion has not taught him to accept and embrace a place of worship that has been built over hatred, violence and the dead bodies of innocents, Banerjee expressed full agreement.
“Politics before elections should not lead to the blood of the poor being offered as Prasad. A country doesn’t run on bloodshed or division,” she said.
Referring to the BJP’s characterisation of the day as the day of “Independence (Asli Azadi),” Banerjee questioned whether they referred to political independence and criticized those without contributions to the freedom struggle talking about independence.
“I don’t know what sort of independence the BJP is talking about. Those who do not have any contribution to the freedom struggle are talking about independence,” she said.
Accusing the BJP of provoking people in the name of religion, Banerjee stated that the party attempts to divide Hindu and Muslim votes before elections.
“Some agents have been created under the garb of Muslim leadership to engage in polarisation of votes. They do this to divide Muslim votes in exchange for money,” she said.
Banerjee said it is very easy to light a fire but the real empathy lies in “efforts to douse it off,”
Banerjee expressed concern about rising unemployment and the loss of the country’s wealth, stating, “I don’t have an issue with preaching Lord Ram, but I have an issue with these matters.”
Accompanied by religious leaders and party members, Banerjee initiated the ‘Sanhati March’ from Hazra More in the metropolis to Park Circus Maidan, emphasizing Bengal’s pivotal role in preserving secularism and inclusiveness in the country.
“The people of Bengal have to decide whether the country will survive, whether people of all religions will survive, whether Swami Vivekananda’s ideals will survive and whether some will be allowed to sell the country before elections,” she said.
Banerjee, who recently had vociferously opposed the railways’ proposal to clear the Dakshineswar Kali temple’s skywalk for the expansion of a proposed Metro railway project, said such a stance reflects the “hypocrisy” of the BJP government at the Centre, which claims to be the champion of Hindus.
Banerjee criticized their stance, stating, “They talk about religion and used to claim that I don’t allow Durga Puja in the state. They now want to demolish the Dakshineswar skywalk. This is their true nature. But I want to say clearly that I will never allow the removal of that structure till the last drop of my blood. I will not allow anyone to touch it.
Before the rally, Banerjee commenced the day by offering prayers at the iconic Kalighat temple in south Kolkata, seeking blessings from Goddess Kali.
During the march, Banerjee offered prayers at a gurdwara, a church, and a mosque in proximity to Park Circus Maidan, aiming at fostering communal harmony in the city.