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West Bengal: Political Hindutva Vs cultural Hinduism in Bengal

By IndianMandarins- 06 Jul 2019


New Delhi: Election strategist Prashant Kishor seems to have taken over the management of poll strategy in West Bengal for 2021 Assembly elections as they are coming closure by the day. Actually the Trinamool Congress is finding it difficult to deal with the emerging tough opponent the Bharatiya Janata Party.


West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is concerned about  a section of Hindu votes drifting away from TMC and now she is apparently turning to win over or hold back Hindu vote bank to its fold which was not at all a vote bank before the emergence the BJP in the state. Banerjee recently visited Mahesh in Hooghly district of the state and pulled chariot of Lord Jagannath. This is the first occasion that Mamata Banerjee joined this Rath Yatra in its over 600 year old tradition.


Political analysts also say that the way Nusrat Jahan is carrying herself out with Hindu insignias all over is not possible without her approval knowing her mercurial temperament. Mamata Banerjee’s new election advisor seems to have advised to counter radical Hindutva of the BJP by cultural Hindutva of West Bengal. So she seems to have made Nushrat Jahan mascot of the West Bengal.


In one of the interviews Mamata had said, “Hindutva is a political ideology but Hinduism is a way of life. I am also a Hindu by birth. I worship God. Hinduism is inherently a very liberal religion. If you don’t pray every day even then you are a Hindu. They have made ‘Jai Shri Ram’ a political slogan, but Ram does not just belong to the BJP. Thakur Shri Ramakrishna was not just a strong devotee of Kali, but also Ram.” She is trying to invoke Bengali Hindus sentiment by calling that they are good Hindus with a good soul. It doesn’t depend on how many rituals you follow.


So to counter the BJP strategy of colouring the TMC as the anti-Hindu political party gradually, Mamata Banerjee might be quite often seen in similar such occasions obviously with some balancing acts. She is a ground leader and very well aware that the BJP managed to get over 37 per cent votes in the state in 2019 in comparisons to less than 10 per cent votes in many previous elections needs proper attention.


However, the BJP will not leave any chance to provoke Mamata as they know it very well that she might commit mistakes in anger as she had committed during the Lok Sabha election when instead of ignoring Jai Shri Ram slogan shouted, she got people arrested people for shouting slogans.  But Mamata never gives up, so a very interesting battle awaits in West Bengal.

(By Vinod Kumar Shukla)

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