West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee was greeted with ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans and posters in poll-bound Goa on Thursday, October 28. Banerjee was in Goa for her maiden visit after her party declared contesting the 2022 state assembly elections.
When the TMC supremo reached the Goa airport many people present there, allegedly workers of the Bhartiya Janata Party, greeted Banerjee with the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan. Besides, many ‘Jai Shri Ram’ posters were also out up across the coastal state.
Reacting to the incident, the former Goa CM and TMC leader in Goa Luizinho Falerio said: “Some BJP supporters were protesting with slogans of Jai Shree Ram. Mamata Banerjee gestured a namaskar to them and we moved on.” “I am a devotee of Ram as well. But it is not our culture to tear down images of a woman,” he said.
The state BJP unit has, however, denied its involvement in the incident. “We are certainly not involved in the hoardings issue,” a BJP worker was quoted by local media as saying.
Mamata Banerjee and her aversion towards the ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogan
In January 2021, Mamata Banerjee was seen walking out of the stage refusing to address the public gathered at Kolkata’s Victoria Memorial for Netaji birth anniversary celebrations.
WB CM Mamata Banerjee, who was sharing the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, refused to address the gathering and lamented of “being disrespected” because she could not stand the slogans of Jai Shree Ram, Bharat Mata ki Jai, etc when she was invited to address the event.
Lashing out after hearing ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans, Mamata Banerjee lamented before walking off the stage: “Inviting people and then disrespecting them does not behove the government. This is a government programme, not a political party’s programme”.
In 2019, Mamata Banerjee had taken to social networking site Facebook to let the world know that she will continue to oppose ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans as they are a deliberate attempt ‘to sell hatred ideology’.
In fact, there have been several occasions, where Mamata Banerjee has gone to the extent of slapping and getting people arrested for chanting the slogan. Likewise, her party cadres have gotten so provoked by the slogan that they have retaliated by resorting to violence multiple times in the past.
BJP too has used this situation extensively to their advantage. Before the West Bengal polls, in order to rile Mamata Banerjee, the saffron party had included the ‘Jai Shree Ram’ slogan in its campaign video. The video had snippets of the long-drawn violence inflicted on the common people of the state, with a background score including the slogan. The video showed various incidents where Mamata Banerjee opposed the Jai Shree Ram slogans.
Posters of WB CM vandalised in Goa
The ‘Jai Shri Ram’ posters had emerged in Goa close on the heels of several hoardings carrying pictures of the Trinamool Congress president being defaced in Goa ahead of her visit. Several TMC hoardings and billboards across Goa were pulled down, destroyed, and Mamata Banerjee’s face on the banners was smeared with ink. The Goa unit of the party has pinned the blame on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
TMC releases political cartoon showing Mamata Banerjee crushing PM and HM with her slippers
While the TMC had attempted to use the issue to launch an attack on the BJP with allegations that have no evidence to back them up, it’s worth remembering that Mamata Banerjee’s party only two days previously released posters wherein TMC not only normalised but also celebrated violence.
The political cartoon showed a woman, clad in a white saree with a blue strip, something which the West Bengal Chief Minister wears, crushing three people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and one civilian under her slipper-wearing foot.