TMC Ram Navami plan
Rampurhat: The Trinamul Congress has decided to observe Ram Navami in Birbhum district with a procession at Rampurhat on March 25 in an apparent bid to hijack the programme from the BJP.
Last year, the BJP had celebrated the birthday of Lord Ram in the district by holding the biggest march at Rampurhat.
Asish Banerjee, Bengal agriculture minister and the Trinamul MLA from Rampurhat, told The Telegraph: "We don't do politics of religion. But a committee to observe Ram Navami was formed recently and we will take part in the rally. This is to be with the people who celebrate Ram Navami."
The festival was largely unknown in Bengal until the BJP celebrated it in 2017.
Trinamul insiders said there was a plan to distance the BJP from the people by hijacking the saffron camp's popular programmes. "From last year, we started observing Hanuman Jayanti when we felt that the BJP was penetrating Hindu voters through religious programmes. We formed the Ram Navami committee to ensure that we snatch away the programme this year," said a Trinamul leader.
Trinamul said on the day of Ram Navami, the procession would start at 9 am and would cover the entire town.
"We have a plan to gather at least 10,000 people in the rally. We have already ordered for 5,000 laddoos. There will be groups who will chants kirtans and Ramgaans. There will be 100 dhaaks (traditional drums) to make the procession colourful. We will use no party flags," Susanta Mukherjee, the chairman of Rampurhat town Trinamul Congress, said.
Told about Trinamul move to observe Ram Navami this year, Ramkrishna Roy, the Birbhum district president of the BJP, said: "It proves that Trinamul is afraid of the rise of the BJP in Birbhum. It is a desperate attempt by Trinamul to retain the Hindu vote bank."
According to sources, Trinamul has reasons to be worried over the religious programmes of the BJP in Birbhum.
"The BJP had not only organised rallies during Ram Navami but also developed foothold in some areas of the district. It is a cause of concern for the ruling party that the BJP is successfully drawing people to religious programmes," said a source.