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CM cites Tagore, rivals cry Buddhadanav

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By OUR BUREAU AND PTI in Jaipur
  • Published 9.12.07
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Calcutta/Jaipur, Dec. 8: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today said his comments on Ram’s existence had been “taken out of context” by the media but the clarification didn’t pacify the self-proclaimed foot soldiers of the legendary king.

While the Vishwa Hindu Parishad demanded an apology, the BJP coined a new name for the Left leader.

At a rally in Jaipur, Rajasthan, party general secretary Gopinath Munde said the veteran communist should be called Buddhadanav — not deb (god) — because he didn’t believe in the existence of Ram.

The rally, attended by thousands, was to mark four years of BJP rule in the state.

In Calcutta, the chief minister said he had merely quoted from Rabindranath Tagore when he said Kobi tabo monobhoomi Ramer janmasthan Ayodhyayr cheye satya jeno (the poet’s mind is the birthplace of Ram which is more real than Ayodhya).

The comment came at a meeting to mark 15 years of the Babri Masjid’s demolition in Ayodhya.

“I quoted the following lines of Rabindranath Tagore…. A section of the media has taken it out of context,” Bhattacharjee said.

But VHP leader Praveen Togadia, who was in Calcutta today, said even Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, who had destroyed several Hindu temples, had never questioned Ram’s existence.

“It’s shocking to find the Bengal chief minister spreading canards about Ram. He has insulted and hurt the religious sentiments of the Hindu community. Communists are hated in the world because of their atheism.”

Bhattacharjee, he added, must ask for “forgiveness” from Hindus.

The VHP leader, who grabbed headlines some years back for distributing tridents, went on to say that the Bengal chief minister should change his name if he didn’t believe in god.

“Why was this chief minister named Buddhadeb? His parents could have chosen some other name. But they must have thought that Buddha was god to everyone and hence it would be better to name their son after a pious soul. If he has doubts about the Almighty’s existence, he should get his name changed,” Togadia said.

“The same applies to CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury. His parents named him Sitaram as both Sita and Ram were there in real life.”

Togadia said it was this “atheism” that had made Bengal’s ruling communists “snatch away” lands from poor farmers.

“For farmers, land is god. These communists targeted the poor farmers in Singur and Nandigram and took away their lands by force. Actually, they do not believe in god and that’s why showed their inhuman behaviour.”

In Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, hundreds of VHP workers burnt an effigy of the chief minister in protest against his remarks on Ram.

In Rajasthan, chief minister Vasundhara Raje lived up to her “power puff” moniker and of being the mainstay of BJP politics in the state when she was able to get both L.K. Advani and Rajnath Singh to attend her show of strength.

Advani confessed that he had not intended to come as he had promised Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal that he would attend his birthday rally in Bhatinda today.

But a phone call from Raje made him change his mind, the former BJP chief said.

Both Advani and Rajnath, the party’s current chief, called Raje the “architect of modern Rajasthan” and targeted Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for calling Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi a “merchant of death”.

“I think all terrorists should be termed ‘merchants of death’, as they do not belong to any religion, and not Modi,” Advani said.