Dilip Ghosh, president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s West Bengal unit, on Friday ramped up the assault on the state's ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) dispensation — questioning chief minister Mamata Banerjee over her issue with the 'Jai Shri Ram' chant.
At a rally in Kolkata, Dilip Ghosh reportedly reminded the crowd that everyone in West Bengal "has to say Jai Shri Ram". He then turned his focus to attacking the TMC regime over controversies regarding the chant in the past.
"Is Didi (West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee) having problems upon hearing the 'Jai Shri Ram' chant? Whose blood do you have in you? Why can't you tolerate 'Jai Shri Ram'?" Ghosh questioned his political opponents, amid massive applause from the crowd.
He also condemned the TMC's rhetoric of using 'Joy Bangla' chant as a counter to 'Jai Shri Ram', which Mamata has earmarked as a tool that the BJP uses to 'communalise' the electorate in Bengal, ahead of the state assembly polls next year.
Ghosh accused the West Bengal chief minister of trying to 'turn' West Bengal into Bangladesh.
"By saying 'Joy Bangla', are you conspiring to turn the state into Bangladesh?" Ghosh asked at the rally.
Dilip Ghosh has established himself as an undisputed hallmark in the dirty politics of West Bengal, which has mired the state's electocracy for a while now.
As recently as in November, he had threatened "mischievous" Trinamool Congress (TMC) workers with potential physical violence.
Earlier as well, he had taken up his high rhetoric up a notch of unrestrained abuse to slam his opponents, something he seems to enjoy popularity among his supporters for.
He had also earlier sparked controversies by threatening to shoot down 'like dogs' those who damaged public property in the state and calling public intellectuals in the state "spineless parasites".
Notably, the debate over 'Joy Bangla vs Jai Shri Ram' — verbal or otherwise — has captured the political discourse in West Bengal, ever since the BJP began its attempts to expand its influence in the state ahead of the assemby elections.
Mamata was even reported to have once stepped out of her vehicle in the middle of a road in the industrial belt on the northeastern fringe of Kolkata, only to angrily confront a motley crew of BJP supporters chanting 'Jai Shri Ram' as a tongue-in-cheek response to her convoy passing through.
Notably, the slogan ''Joy Bangla'' once united the nation of Bangladesh to fight in the Liberation War led by 'Bangabandhu' Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The BJP has, in the past, accused "goons" of the ruling TMC dispensation in Bengal of targeting supporters of the saffron camp for chanting 'Jai Shri Ram', which the party believes is a unifying call for the entire nation and Bengal is no exception.
On the other hand, the TMC has alleged that individuals, particularly Muslims, are being forced by right-wing supporters to chant "Jai Shri Ram" and being assaulted in cases where they refused to do so.