Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sudhanshu Trivedi. File

The BJP came down heavily on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday, accusing her of linking the Ram Navami festival with disharmony, adding that her comments reflected the Opposition INDIA bloc’s insulting mindset regarding the country’s culture.

In a post on X, Ms. Banerjee had greeted people on the occasion of Ram Navami and appealed to them to “maintain peace, prosperity and development for all”.

The BJP indicated that her appeal seemed to be a reference to the violence that had broken out during large Ram Navami processions in various parts of the country last year.

BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said that Ms. Banerjee’s appeal to maintain peace implied that she was linking the festival to disturbance or disharmony. “This is totally an insult of the festival of Ram Navami,” he said.

‘Lack courage’

He also made a jibe at Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Akhilesh Yadav over their joint press conference where they claimed that the INDIA bloc would sweep Uttar Pradesh in the Lok Sabha election. Mr. Yadav had said that “winds of change” were blowing from western U.P. and that the Opposition coalition would achieve a “clean sweep from Ghaziabad to Ghazipur”.

“Both Opposition leaders themselves lack the courage to announce their candidature from Uttar Pradesh, but are giving assurances to others,” Mr. Trivedi said in response. “Everybody knows that [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi will win,” he said, claiming that the BJP-led alliance would win over 400 Lok Sabha seats in the national election.

While Mr. Gandhi is fighting the election from Wayanad, a question mark prevails over whether he will also contest from Amethi, his erstwhile parliamentary constituency which he lost in 2019 to Union Minister Smriti Iranai. Mr. Yadav, who is an MLA, may still be named as an SP candidate from a Lok Sabha constituency in U.P., according to several reports.

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