Bhubaneswar: In the wake of opposition from a section of sevaits at Puri’s Lord Jagannath Temple over her visit to the shrine, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for creating “nuisance”.
When asked to comment on the issue, the Trinamool Congress chief said, “BJP cadres can do what they want. I have full faith in Lord Jagannath.”
“We worship Lord Jagannath back home in Bengal. In fact, priests from Puri come and perform puja there. People from Bengal visit Lord Jagannath several times in a year”, she told journalists at the circuit house in Puri.
Mamata, who landed in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday evening, left for Puri after meeting her party MPs Sudip Bandodhyay and Tapas Pal at a city hospital. On a personal visit to the temple town, she is scheduled to reach the shrine on Wednesday evening amid protests.
On Tuesday, BJP Yuva Morcha supporters burnt Mamata’s effigy and demonstrated outside the Puri Town police station. Police had to detain the sevait, indentified as Somnath Khuntia, who first opposed the Bengal chief minister’s visit to the temple.
The Naveen Patnaik government has accorded state guest honour to the visiting chief minister of West Bengal and security has been heightened in Puri.
In a scathing attack on the BJP, a defiant Mamata said, “I am a born Hindu but I don’t indulge in such Hindutva that maligns the Hindu community. I love Hindus but they defame them.”
“Hindu religion is a great religion that takes everyone along”, she told reporters while reminding people of the teachings of great Hindu philosophers like Shri Ramakrishna Paramhansa and his disciple Swami Vivekananda.
Reacting to the controversy that erupted over her alleged remarks about Hindus eating beef too, Mamata clarified, “I was asked a question (during an interview) and I had responded then. Remember, one’s choice of food is personal and I believe in secular politics.”
Reiterating her wish to meet Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik during her stay in the state, she said “All regional parites should grow and there should be a strong bond between them. It will be my endeavour to ensure that all regional parties work together for the sake of federalism.”