Bangalore: Being rated as one of the most influential persons in the world, the so called “didi” among the West Bengal people, Mamata Banerjee, is one among the most influential politicians in India. She is also the founder of the prestigious All India Trinamool Congress party (AITMC or TMC). Previously, before forming the Trinamool Congress Party, she worked for Congress Party. As her history says, even though she is serving as the chairperson of the Trinamool Congress, her party had political clash with BJP so many times.
One of the most usual allegations made by BJP towards TMC is it’s Muslim appeasement. The recent news of the “Brahmin Convention” or “Brahmin and Purohit Sammelan” which is organised by none other the TMC’s Birbhum district president, Anubrata Mondal is considered as a move against BJP’s allegations. It is to be noted that Anubrata is also one of the strong critics of the Bharatiya Janata Party and it’s policies. This “Brahmin convention” was conducted at Bolpur town of Birbhum district, in West Bengal on January 8, 2018.
Though these kind of conventions are common in states like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, this is the first conference organised in West Bengal state. By this event, Mondal has brought together around 12,000 priests from within the district and those neighbouring it. There is also a news that the main reason behind conducting this event is in the wake of increment of BJP’s vote share in Birbhum district from 4.62% in 2009 to 18.47% of votes in 2014.
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Trinamool Congress Birbhum district president and party strongman Anubrata Mondal, informed the reporters that, “About 15,000 Brahmins of Birbhum district would gather and conduct pujas on Januray 8. Each Brahmin would be given a copy of Gita, a ‘namaboli’ (religious shawl with ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ inscribed on it) and also a photograph of Ramakrishna Paramhansa and Saradha Maa,”
Mondal said that the convention was mainly organised to highlight the “misinterpretations” of Hinduism done by the BJP and to discuss what the Hindu religion actually stood for.
As an expected outcome of the event, the saffron party has accused the TMC leadership of practising “soft Hindutva” in order to stop the Hindu voters of the state tilting towards the BJP. They have also claimed that Mamata’s recent visit to the sagar island to look over the arrangements made for the upcoming Makar Sankranti is also to attract the Hindu voters to gain victory in the upcoming panchayat elections.
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“The so-called secular leaders are practising Hindutva, because they are well aware that the Hindus are uniting under the BJP. They have realised that they will no longer be able to win elections by appeasing Muslims,” state BJP president Dilip Ghosh said.
“Mamata Banerjee has taken minority appeasement to such levels that they are wary of losing out the votes of the majority Hindus. In recent times, she has even asserted herself as a ‘true Hindu’ and even chanted Hindu mantras full of mistakes on the stage,” said BJP national secretary and former state BJP president Rahul Sinha.
However, Mondal refused these “soft Hindutva” and “Hindu appeasement” allegations by saying that they have conducted a Muslim convention previously in a similar way.
Taking on sides, when considering the election results in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh where BJP has won in both states, and also the increasing vote share of BJP in West Bengal, it seems it has created a tension in TMC thereby resulting in such actions of the politicians.
We have to wait and see whether this proves fruitful or futile for TMC in upcoming elections.