Kolkata: A controversy erupted at the inauguration ceremony of West Bengal‘s first Vande Bharat Express on Friday morning, when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, upset over chants of Jai Shri Ram, refused to share the stage. She sat on a chair adjacent to the stage throughout the event. From here, she condoled the death of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mother Heeraben Modi.
As soon as the Chief Minister reached the inauguration site of Howrah station on Friday morning, BJP supporters present there shouted Slogans of Jai Shri Ram. Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav, who was present on the day, tried his best to control the BJP supporters and requested them to refrain from raising slogans. But the chief minister refused to come on stage. The Railway Minister was seen repeatedly pleading with her to sit on the stage, which she turned down.
This is not the first time that the chief minister has objected to the chanting of Jai Shri Ram. On January 23, 2021, BJP supporters raised slogans on the occasion of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary at Victoria Memorial Hall in Kolkata. At that time, the Chief Minister said that any government program should follow certain guidelines. It is unwise to insult any invitee at such a function. So, I refuse to say anything here in protest.
Meanwhile, on Friday morning, a political uproar started over this development. State Municipal Affairs and Urban Development Minister and Kolkata Municipal Corporation Mayor Firhad Hakim said, “Jai Shri Ram” should be said with a pure heart in the temple or at home. But BJP supporters are using this slogan to tease our chief minister. We could have stopped them immediately if we wanted to, but we believe in political etiquette.
BJP Lok Sabha member Locket Chatterjee said slogans of Jai Shri Ram were raised when the Prime Minister appeared online to inaugurate the Vande Bharat Express. “The slogans were not raised to harass the chief minister”.