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Hindu nationalism is back in West Bengal
West Bengal

Hindu nationalism is back in West Bengal

Agency News

New Delhi, June 2 : The ‘Jai Shri Ram’ controversy in West Bengal shows that the Hindu nationalism is back in the province that has had a past record in patriotism and the Hindu narratives did dominate the cultural and political space.

BJP leaders from the state feel their archrival in the state Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has only walked to their ‘trap’ by constantly losing temper just on hearing the slogan ‘Jai Shri Ram’.

“Even from literature and cultural point of view, Bengal renaissance was influenced by the Hindu culture. The song ‘Vande Mataram’ came from Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel ‘Anand Math’ and it had the Hindu ingredients and influence. Hence the plank of ‘minority appeasement’ charge against Mamata Banerjee has stuck,” a key party leader said here.

In the run up to the seven-phased parliamentary elections, the BJP strategists feel the message had gone down well that the saffron party has able to ‘appeal’ to Hindu Bengalis.
This was seen as an ‘exception and departure' as Bengalis for long were considered part of the larger ‘Left liberal brigade’.
The mandate 2019 showed Prime Minister Narendra Modi has won for a strong India and for 'protecting self respect' of Hindu Bengalis, is now the well established refrain.

Sources said displaying ‘departure’ from BJP's known politics of temple and cow protection issues - as was done with all the machinations in Uttar Pradesh, for Bengal the saffron party leaders started talking about issues - jobs, women empowerment, goondaism and tolabaj (extortion) racket unleashed by Trinamool.

"The repeated assertions by Amit Shah and other BJP leaders such as Dilip Ghosh to reach out to intellectuals as well as commoners especially in rural Bengal was essentially to break the umbilical cord between Bengali 'Bhadrolok' and pro-Marxist intellectualism. This was broken," the BJP source says.

In fact, the saffron party leaders say Mamata Banerjee’s ‘confrontational attitude’ with BJP cadres and the Modi government from Ram Navami to CBI actions against police commissioner and permission row related to Hanuman Jayanti and the Jai Shri Ram slogans at a later stage betrayed ‘nervousness’ in Mamata Banerjee.

BJP national general secretary Kaliash Vijayvargiya has worked hard with other colleagues to ensure this transition in a state where BJP has ‘immense organisational weakness’.
“Assembly polls in Bengal are due in 2021, but if Mamata Banerjee cannot keep her flock together, polls may be held earlier and for that BJP should not be blamed,” he said in Delhi.

Senior leaders say all these have not come easy way. A well structured campaign was launched especially in areas closer to border areas with Bangladesh where attempts were made to capture the Bengali mind and ‘refugees’ especially among those whose forefathers had to leave Bangladesh during partition in 1947.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was piloted with all necessary vigour and the party ‘risked’ in alienating its support base in Assam but the gamble did help.

Explaining the political dichotomy further, one BJP leader in Purulia says – “In more ways than one, West Bengal polity is polarised today. A major section is against Mamata Banerjee, one section has been drawn to the BJP due to macho Hindutva politics. And a clear message that it is BJP which can take on Trinamool. Of course, Mamata Banerjee still has some votes and is perhaps still the best hope for her party”. (UNI)