Is Mamata Banerjee adopting soft Hindutva approach by praying at Hindu saint’s ashram in Gangasagar?

During a buildup to the Gujarat elections, it was noticed that Congress President Rahul Gandhi was touting a soft Hindutva line by visiting scores of temples in the state.

This included visiting the famous Somnath Temple where his name was allegedly registered in the non-Hindu register, and visiting the Shree Ranchhodji Temple in Kheda, where he was greeted with “Modi Modi” chants.

Many felt that a pro-Hindu tilt was ironical to say the least, considering the UPA government was instrumental in coining the term “Saffron terror” and has been accused of trying to frame top Hindu leaders to possibly further this narrative.

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Another political figure who has ‘cultivated’ an anti-Hindu image in the eyes of the people, is West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee. She has managed that by passing orders which many felt were detrimental to the Hindu community like imposing restrictions on Durga Puja idol immersions owing to Muharram.

Now it seems that she too has started to play the soft Hindutva card, if reports are to be believed.

It has been reported that during her 26th December visit to Ganagsagar, Mamata spent about an hour at the KapilMuni ashram, in presence of chief priest Gyandasji. This visit came ahead of Makar Sankranti on 14th January when Gangasagar is visited by countless devotees, wanting to take a holy dip at the confluence of the Ganga and the Bay of Bengal.

After visiting, Mamata also stated that she would come back to the place again.

This isn’t the only ‘pro-Hindu’ stand which she or her party has indulged in. In recent days, reports have emerged claiming that TMC would be organising a massive “Brahmin Sammelan” in the state’s Birbhum district on 8th January. This is scheduled to be the first “Brahmin Sammelan” in the state and about 15,000 Brahmins are expected to attend.

Here Brahmins would be given a copy of Bhagwat Gita, a religious shawl and photos of Ramakrishna Paramhansa and Saradha Maa. The prime organiser of this event is Anubrata Mondal, TMC’s Birbhum district president.

Such ‘majority appeasement’ of Mamata, it seems, comes a few days after the results of Sabang by-poll, an assembly constituency in Paschim Mednipur district, were announced. Even though the TMC won the election by a comfortable margin of 49,167 votes, a close analysis brought forth a “tell a tale of a major shift in voting pattern”.

Here it was noted that the TMC witnessed a low upswing in vote, and BJP made massive inroads by winning 18.4% of votes compared to a paltry 2.6% a year later.

It remains to be seen whether a growing threat of the BJP, or a realisation of possible Hindu disenchantment, is driving Mamata and the TMC to undertake such measures. And whether she and her party would be successful in completing this ‘image makeover’, and get the desired results in the future polls.

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