Home Minister Amit Shah offers prayers; and (bottom) a woman touches his feet at Dakshineswar Temple in Kolkata on Friday.
Home Minister Amit Shah offers prayers; and (bottom) a woman touches his feet at Dakshineswar Temple in Kolkata on Friday.
—ANI
Appeasement politics has robbed West Bengal of spirituality: Amit Shah

Kolkata

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on day 2 of his West Bengal visit for organisational meetings with BJP workers in Kolkata, reportedly asked them not to focus on the CM candidate’s face and not target Mamata Banerjee as an individual, but to attack the Trina­mool Congress (TMC) as a whole.

After visiting the Dakshineshwar temple on Friday, Shah said, “Bengal is the birthplace of great spiritual leaders like Chaitanya, Ramkrishna and Swami Vivekananda. But the politics of appeasement has robbed the state of its tradition of spirituality. I urge the electorate to vote for the BJP to revive the lost pride.”

On Friday, the Union Home Minister had lunch with a Matua community family, like he visited a tribal family on Thursday. It was an outreach effort to garner support of the tribal and refugee population in the state.

Notably, Shah’s first stop was to garland a statue of Birsa Munda, the legendary tribal leader who fought for India's independence and was killed at age 25. However, at the last minute, tribal leaders said the statue was not of Birsa Munda at all, but a general tribal hunter. Realising the faux pas, BJP hastily placed a portrait of the tribal leader at the foot of the statue. Shah showered petals at the statue and garlanded the portrait. On Friday, tribals reportedly “purified” the statue with Ganga water.

The ruling TMC however broke its silence and tweeted hitting out at Shah. It said, “‘Bohiragato’ are at it again! Union Home Minister @AmitShah is so ignorant of the West Bengal’s culture he insulted Bhagwan Birsa Munda by garlanding a wrong idol and placed his photo at someone else’s foot. Will he ever respect Bengal?”

Trinamool MP Nusrat Jahan said, “From Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar to Birsa Munda, what is this blatant disrespect towards Bengal’s legendary icons, Amit Shahji? How many more times will you misuse Bengal’s culture and heritage for your political propaganda?”

Mamata’s nephew and TMC MP Abhishek Banerjee lashed out at Shah over the alleged political gimmick to eat lunch with tribal families. “Reality behind @AmitShah ji's token meals — he used ST Community and the concerned family as political tool and did not even bother to speak to them for a moment. Mr Home Minister, did you come here only for a photo-op? #BengalAsksAmitShah”

The battle to wrest Bengal gets fiercer as BJP is determ­ined to sweep the carpet from under the TMC’s feet and rule the corridors of power, even as the ruling TMC will fight back with undeterred confidence of holding onto its turf. (Agencies inputs)

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