West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee may see red over ‘Jai Shri Ram chants, but one of her party MPs reminded Narendra Modi about the need for a temple in a housing complex here when the Prime Minister went to inaugurate the flats.
Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member Kalyan Banerjee said that while the new duplex flats were being built for MPs in North Avenue in Lutyens Delhi, he had suggested keeping a separate room as a ‘mandir’ to offer prayers.
When Modi went to inaugurate the flats on Monday, Banerjee shook his hands and told him: “Ye mera suggestion tha jab huyathakepoojakeliyeekgharhonachahiye. Mandirkeliye…” (when it was being constructed, I suggested them to keep a separate room for temple to offer pooja).
Modi cut him short before jokingly telling the MP, “Ye bangalkeakhbar me chhapega” (this will be printed in Bengali dailies), before both broke into laughter.
West Bengal has seen an exodus of political leaders mainly from the ruling Trinamool Congress, with many complaining that their former party was practicing “politics of appeasement”, a charge made both by BJP President Amit Shah and Modi at election rallies in Bengal.
Be it the party’s reported opposition to Saraswati puja in schools or Mamata Banerjee expressing displeasure over public display of Ram Navami, Trinamool’s stance has come under attack from the BJP.
Last year, when the BJP tried to kickstart a RathYatra, Trinamool cadres went to the area to ‘purify’ it by sprinkling Ganga water. Now, one of their senior MPs asking for a ‘mandir’ at the newly constructed MP flats in Delhi may ruffle many feathers.