In a first time ever, Trinamool Congress (TMC) in West Bengal observed the death anniversary of BJP’s predecessor Jan Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mookherjee’s death anniversary on past Saturday. However the West Bengal ruling party also made it vividly clear that they don’t subscribe to the ideology of SP Mookherjee.
Minister of Urban Development and Municipal Affairs Firhad Hakim said, “We do not agree with the ideology of Syama Prasad. We want secular Bengal. Our ideology and Syama Prasad’s ideology are not same. But he was a great human being, freedom fighter and a member of parliament from Bengal which we cannot deny it. We might not agree with someone’s ideology, but that does not mean we won’t pay respect or break his statue. We are following our ideology. Common people will decide who will come to power. We do not incite any kind of violence unlike the RSS and BJP. They only create violence. We believe in harmony and unity. We will form the India that Mahatma Gandhi dreamt of.”
In 1953 Mookherjee embarked on a journey to Jammu and Kashmir as a protest against the law that prohibited Indian citizens from entering the state without a permit. He was arrested on 11 May at Lakhenpur while crossing the border into Kashmir without permit. Although the permit rule was revoked owing to his efforts, he died as a detainee on 23 June 1953 under mysterious circumstances.
Taking a dig at TMC’s new found respect for Shayama Prasad Mookherjee, Rahul Sinha, national secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party, said, “TMC attempted to break his statue through extremists. However, today they realised the act had been very sinful. So, it is a sign of repentance from them to pay respect to Syama Prasad Mookerjee. Today, after a long time, the ruling party of Mamata Banerjee realised the consequences. Anyway, she has paid tribute to Syama Prasad. We appreciate it. We need to give tribute to all the great people who lost their life fighting for our country.”
However, TMC leader Firhad Hakim backing his party’s stand, said, “I think that Rahul Sinha is somewhere confused, because this is the statue constructed by the government. Both of them are extremists. We do not believe in extremism. We believe in equality, we believe in respecting everyone. Rahul Sinha and his party do not go to pay respect to Maulana Azad. We are not like them, we believe in respecting everyone. We pay respect to Maulana Azad, Indira Gandhi and Syama Prasad as well. May be our ideology are not similar, but we do not disrespect anyone. That is the policy of TMC and Mamata Banerjee.”
Meanwhile, BJP MP Roopa Ganguly too sees TMC gesture as an act of repentance.
Ganguly said, “It is probably a sign of repentance, but whatever it may be I, as a Bharatiya Janata Party activist, am happy to see people of West Bengal remembering him. Today, the reason we are sitting in the land of West Bengal is Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee. He stood straight and he fought for the division and he fought for this piece of land, where we are standing today. Dr Syama Prasad is very dear to our hearts. It is only BJP, but I suppose it should be the people of West Bengal as well. The whole country pays respect to him. Many members pay respect to Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee today. It is important that people pay respect to him. It was misplaced just before a few days. It is up to you if you want to respect or not, but at least don’t disrespect anybody’s sentiment.”