A real political “storm in a teacup” has erupted due to Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee’s assertion on Wednesday that everything in the RSS feed is “not bad” and there are many who “do not support the BJP”.
While AIMIM, Congress and CPM attacked her on Thursday for what they saw as opportunism on the part of Ms Banerjee, the BJP said it did not need testimonies from her.
Rather than commenting on the tribute to her left hand, the RSS service cited Bengal’s record of political violence and demanded corrective action.
The most severe attack came from All India Assembly (AIMIM) Speaker Asaduddin Owaisi, who said on Thursday that “also in 2003, she contacted RSS ‘Patriots’, (and) in turn Rashtriya Swayamswak Sangh had called her Durga”.
Mr Al Owaisi, whose party failed to win a single seat including Muslim-majority constituencies in Bengal in the recent lower house elections as it positioned itself in contrast to both the TMC and the BJP, said sarcastically, “I hope that Muslim faces in the junta will be praised.” Transitional for its sincerity and consistency.
However, the TMC attempted to shed light on Mr. Al Owais’ remark and said the party did not need to prove its secular credentials to him.
“We don’t need to prove anything to Oise. Mamata Banerjee tried to say that every organization has good and bad people. We don’t need to prove our secular qualifications to anyone after defeating the BJP-RSS juggernaut in the past,” said Sugata Roy, a parliamentarian.
However, in addition to AIMIM, a handful of larger parties have also commented on the “praise” of Mamata Banerjee for the RSS feed.
“This is not the first time that (Mamata Banerjee) has praised the RSS service,” Congress Leader Adir Ranjan Chaudhry Thursday told PTI. Ms Banerjee had allied with the BJP-led NDA during the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure as prime minister, before she distanced herself from the NDA but had a stormy relationship with the alliance, often attacking it over divestment and other issues.
He repeated the example of Mr. Al-Owaisi since 2003, when “I took part in the program of issuing a book from RSS. I asked for their support to bring down the (at that time) left front government.” Mr Chaudhry claimed that even before then Ms. Banerjee was expressing her gratitude to the Nagpur-based RSS service, which is the ideological mother of the BJP.
The Congress leader told PTI: “Sometimes you champion Hindu fundamentalists and sometimes Muslims for electoral gain. Mamata Banerjee has been exposed again.”
“The RSS hasn’t been that bad. There are still people in the RSS who don’t support BJP policy,” the chief minister of West Bengal said in a passing statement at a state secretariat on Wednesday.
The Communists were not far behind in mocking Ms. Banerjee. CPC Central Committee member (M) Sujan Chakraborty claimed that her comments justified the Left Party’s position as a “product” of the RSS feed.
The CCP leader claimed: “It is clear once again that the TMC is not trustworthy in the fight against the BJP.”
The RSS, whose relationship with Mamata Banerjee has been the subject of political speculation, chose to ignore the praise and urged her to stop the cycle of political violence in the state.
“She said there are some good people in RSS. We would like to tell her that there can be political disagreements, but does that mean (political activists have to get involved) in killing opponents,” said RSS State Secretary General Jishnu Basu.
Basu claimed that about 60 people were killed in the state in the post-election violence.
He noted that “she should have ensured law and order was applied. She is the prime minister of those who voted for her and those who voted against her.”
BJP National Vice President Dilip Ghosh said neither the RSS nor the BJP needed testimony from Ms Banerjee.
“We don’t need testimony from Mamata Banerjee about who is good and who is bad,” Ghosh said. “It’s up to the people. We are not accountable to her.”