The recitation of the Bhagavad Gita at the Brigade Parade Grounds here on Sunday aggravated the political discord between the BJP and the ruling TMC, with the saffron party urging Hindu unity and the TMC criticising the alleged political exploitation of the mega event.
In a one-of-its-kind gathering at the iconic ground, nearly one lakh people from diverse backgrounds, adorned in traditional attire, collectively chanted sacred verses from the Bhagavad Gita. Participants of various ages and societal status recited the verses alongside revered sages.
Prominent figures from the Bengal BJP unit and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) participated in the event. Organisers claimed that around 120,000 people had registered for the programme.
Despite claims of being apolitical, the event triggered a war of words between the ruling TMC and the opposition BJP in the state.
Reflecting on the event, BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar said, “Bhagavad Gita is the biggest gift of India to the world. Those who are mocking the event don’t have any respect towards the Hindu religion and its traditions. Those who are trying to divide the Hindus will fail in their endeavours.”
Leader of the Opposition in the West Bengal assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, said, “After this event, the Hindus of the state will rise and unite against the divisive forces.” He said the gathering was aimed not only to recite the Bhagavad Gita but also to unite Hindus.
“This was not just a mega recitation programme of Bhagavad Gita, but also an effort to unite the Hindus. There are attempts to create divisions amongst us, the Hindus have to unite,” he said.
In response, TMC leadership accused BJP leaders of attempting to politicise the event.
TMC spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said, “We have nothing against the Gita recitation event. But the BJP leaders should not try to use it to serve its political purposes. The BJP has a habit of mixing religion with politics.”
Udayan Guha, North Bengal Development minister and TMC leader, criticised the BJP, suggesting they could have “organised a football match instead of a Gita recitation event.”
Meanwhile, the state Congress leadership organised a ‘Read Constitution’ near Birla Planetarium, close to the Brigade Parade Grounds.
A Congress leader urged, “Instead of working towards creating a divisive society, all of us should work towards a secular society as inscribed in our Constitution.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his best wishes to the ‘Lokkhe Konthe Gita Path’ event in Kolkata, expressing his belief that the recitation of the Bhagavad Gita by a huge gathering from diverse backgrounds would enhance social harmony and infuse energy into the nation’s development journey.
In his message, PM Modi described the Srimad Bhagavad Gita as a practical guide imparting immense wisdom and providing a path to lead a meaningful life.
Expressing confidence in the positive impact of the recitation, PM Modi remarked, “I am positive that the recitation of Srimad Bhagavad Gita by such a huge gathering of people who have come together from different walks of life will not only boost social harmony but will also infuse energy into our nation’s development journey.”
Majumdar had said on Wednesday that PM Modi would not be attending the programme.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)