Amidst a political scenario when Bengal BJP is struggling to have it’s firm footing on the political stage of Bengal, the visit of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Chief Mohan Bhagwat and his speech is seen as very significant, as it ceremonial that every Vijaya Dashami, which coincides with the foundation day of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
The speech of the Chief is always seen as the report card on BJP’s performances as Government and Organisation and other Sangh Parivar affiliated organizations indicating the shortcomings and providing direction, how to go ahead.
Interestingly, West Bengal along with Kerala had featured in Mohan Bhagwat’s Vijaya Dashami speech in Nagpur recently, where he said “The situation in Bengal and Kerala is known to all. The state governments and their systematically politicized administrative systems are not only apathetic to this serious national crisis but are also lending a helping hand to the anti-national forces for petty political interests. Information pertaining to all these anti-national activities reaches the union government and administration and they must be taking necessary steps to foil these nefarious designs. But cross-border smuggling, including that of cow, continue to be a matter of concern,”.
In Bengal, the appeasement politics of Mamata Banerjee as accused by BJP is in its full form which has led to the growing incidents of communal tension in Dhulagarh and Bashirhat, followed by the state government instructions to stop Bisharjan on the day of Muharram after the Durga Puja is also seen as a move by the state government under to the leadership of Mamata Banerjee to appease only the Muslims, though later on after the High Court judgment the state government is compelled to carry forward both Muharram and Durga Idol Bisharjan together, which went on smoothly with little unnoticeable incidents.
As the visit of the RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat too was scheduled during this time. May be thinking of his presence may incite communal tension, the government first denied permission of holding the programe at the historic Mahajati Sadan. The RSS chief was initially supposed to speak at the state-run Mahajati Sadan auditorium, but the venue was later changed to Science City Auditorium, after being refused by the authority to hold the programme.
It is also important to note that it is not the first time the state government tried to stop Bhagwat from addressing public gatherings at Brigade Ground. Earlier in January, Kolkata Police denied permission for Bhagwat’s rally in the city but the high court ruled against the decision.
In 2016, too, Muharram fell a day after Bijoya Dashami and the state witnessed clashes between Hindus and Muslims in several districts that continued for nearly a week, so the government is not taking any chance said a government official requesting anonymity.
Inspite of all these Mohan Bhagwat significantly gave his message on the sideline of the programme organised by the Sister Nivedita Mission Trust to commemorate her 150th birth anniversary. Though the topic given to Mohan Bhagwat was ‘Nivedita and Indian Nationalism’, he took the stage to give a new direction to the people Bengal. It is noteworthy that he didn’t directly hit any political party including Trinamool Congress. He stressed, “All diverse languages and practices should coexist, but under the unifying idea of Bharat Mata. All diversities must be subservient to nationalism.”
He also described how Sister Nivedita, an ardent follower of Swami Vivekananda, as the epitome of Indian nationalism. “If she, a foreigner, could feel at one with Bharat, why can’t we? We need to learn how to love the nation from her”.“Bharat, Hindutva and spiritualism are inseparable. Bharat will exist as long as there is dharma and spiritualism,” Bhagwat said, adding that everybody – including Muslims and Christians – can live in peace in India as long as they behave like “children of Bharat Mata”.
Trying to hit the core of Bengali sentiment, Bhagwat also referred to Poet Rabindranath Tagore in his call for unity under the Hindu nationalist banner. “Rabindranath told the British that their hope of dividing Hindus and Muslims through clashes will fail because the two communities will find a way to stay united. And that way will definitely be the Hindu way,” he said.
RSS Bengal Chief Bidyut Mukherjee, speaking to Uday India later said, “The response of the programme and presence of Mohan Bhagwatji is immense, we believe God himself has planned to arrange this venue to accommodate larger audience, the capacity of the hall is 2200 but nearly 3000 people in and outside the hall were present to hear Mohanji’s speech. It was not an RSS programme but a programme organised by other organisation to speak on Sister Nivedita, still the response is overwhelming, this itself speaks of the mind of the people. Muslim too are now understanding all these is done to use them as vote bank, so many are turning towards us”
No leader from Trinamool Congress approached by this Correspondent gave their reaction on Mohan Bhagwat visit and speech,Chief minister Mamata Banerjee though have expressed concerns over the planned shastra puja events few days back during an administrative meeting. “Weapons are best suited in the hands of Maa Durga. Just be careful so that there is no attempt to create tension on the Bijoya Dashami day in the name of shastra puja, or procession with arms,” though she has not reacted on Bhagwat’s comments yet.
It is important to note, though no one reacted but Mohan Bhagwat’s visit was closely monitored by the state administration. Ever since Mamata Banerjee came to power in Bengal, the Sangh’s membership in the state has increased by nearly five times. Not only Hindus but also several leaders from the Muslim community have also joined the RSS.
This was Bhagwat’s third visit to Bengal in the last ten months. On January 14 – for the first time – the 66-year-old addressed a gathering at the Brigade Parade Grounds, the largest venue for holding any political gathering in Kolkata.
In the last assembly election in Bengal,inspite of Sharada Scam and Narada Sting Operation where 13 Trinamool Congress leaders and a IPS officer were seen taking bribes from a purported company though the authenticity of the tapes are yet to be verified and is still pending in the court. The two issues Sharada and Narada Sting seen as ripening issues to dethrone Mamata Banerjee’s government but she survived, not just survived but came back with a forceful majority, though BJP managed to gain few more seats.
As these issues didn’t worked, the issue of Muslim appeasement is a prominent and significant one, which BJP is going on encash in the coming days. BJP President Amit Shah’s 3 days visit to Bengal last month was also phenomenal in this direction as it was to gear up the organisation and strategize the Bengal roadmap to victory in the coming election to consolidate the Congress and Left votes. He also declared that the time is favorable for BJP to sow the seed of BJP in Bengal.
But things are not easy for BJP in Bengal, which still lacks a face, who can give a united stand to give equal fight to Mamata Banerjee. The in fights in the organisation too need to settle with increasing membership. Therefore, may be RSS Chief MohanBhagwat stressed on what Sister Nivedita said “there cannot be a nationalistic feeling in the country if people continue fighting each other.”
By Joydeep Dasgupta