On the fateful day when two jihadis beheaded a Hindu man in Udaipur, Rajasthan, West Bengal Chief Minister encouraged her audience to wage Jihad on her political opponents and the ruling party at the centre, the BJP. Her words have left millions of Bharatiyas shocked and scared for their life and security.
The incident occurred on Tuesday, June 27, when Banerjee was making a public address in Asansol. In her speech, recorded in a video that has since gone viral, the TMC matriarch can be heard speaking in Bangla, “July 21 is near, and you know it is Shaheed Dibas.”
While appealing to the local MLAs of per political party and the people of Asansol to partake in large numbers in this yearly gathering, she provoked her audience, stating, “It is a day to declare ‘jihad’ against the BJP.” Urging everyone to participate in the rally, the Bengal CM also said, “For the last two years, we could not hold rallies due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The “Shaheed Dibas” Mamata Banerjee was referring to was the Martys’ Day she and her party observe on July 21 every year. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) organizes a mass rally on this day annually to commemorate the 1993 Kolkata firing. On this day in 1993, 13 Congress Party youth workers were killed in a police firing during a protest march led by Banerjee, who was then a prominent leader of the grand old party.
BJP hits out at Banerjee’s “Jihad” remark
The TMC supremo’s calling for Jihad against the BJP in a public speech has infuriated BJP leaders. BJP IT cell in-charge Amit Malviya took to Twitter and slammed Banerjee for her insensitive remarks. “Mamata Banerjee, sitting CM of Bengal, has declared 21 Jul 2022 as the day of ‘Jihad’ against the BJP. Notwithstanding the fact that she is calling for violence against the people of Bengal, who believe in a different political ideology, the choice of words betrays a deranged mind,” Malviya said in the tweet.
That the CM’s speech encouraging Jihad had the potential of resulting in violence was recognized by BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar. Sukanta stated that using the word Jihad, was inciting people of a particular community against the BJP.
On Wednesday, June 29, Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari, accompanied by a delegation of ten leaders of the Bengal BJP, met West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar. The opposition leaders sought action against the state Chief Minister for her speech encouraging ‘jihad’ against their party at the public gathering in Asansol.
“We are very concerned about what the Chief Minister said yesterday in a public meeting. We seek the intervention of Governor on it,” said the LoP after meeting the Governor. Banerjee’s remark didn’t go well with the West Bengal Governor either. He has called upon the TMC chief to withdraw the unfortunate statement.
Through his official Twitter handle, Governor Dhankhar pointed out, “the statement has no place in a society governed by rule of law, and least expected from one under constitutional oath to abide by it. Taking strong exception to this, have written to CM to withdraw the statement and respond.”
In another tweet, he called the act of declaring ‘Jihad’ against a political party a “constitutional anarchy and decimation of democracy” that cannot be accepted. He further stated, “Am sure wiser counsel will prevail & Hon’ble CM would regretfully withdraw the statement earliest. Such a pernicious stance is antithetical to democracy.”
‘Jihad’ apologist defends Banerjee
On the other hand, Jihad apologist and political analyst Udayan Bandyopadhyay defended Banerlee’s comment. While speaking to Deccan Herald, Bandyopadhyay said, “The word Jihad doesn’t mean violence. One can impose Jihad upon oneself. It means abstinence or self-purification. It’s a kind of struggle. What could be interpreted of what the CM said is that she may have meant that voters should abstain from voting for the BJP, or to struggle against the BJP,”