Rampurhat: Puja seems to have arrived early in Rampurhat -Ram Puja. Ram Navami is kicking up the dust like never before in this Birbhum town ahead of the festival on Sunday, with least a dozen Ram Pujas organised by BJP and Trinamool leaders vying as much for political space as for devotees.
The pace seemed to have been set last year when huge Ram Navami processions brought out by the saffron brigade rolled through the town and grabbed national spotlight.
Still, Malay Majumdar could not recall such a build-up to Ram Navami. “It is the first time so many Ram Pujas have been organised here. It feels like Durga Puja,” the retired chemistry professor said.
The town has been adorned with cut-outs of Ram and banners bearing Ram Navami greetings from Trinamool and BJP leaders. Trinamool has set up half-a-dozen welcome gates of the kind typical of Durga Puja. BJP sources said the trend of holding pujas started after the police set several conditions for processions. “The moment the saffron brigade started holding Ram Pujas, the ruling party followed suit,” said a police source.
Sushanta Mukherjee, chairman of the Rampurhat town Trinamool committee, made no bones about the motive behind the Ram Pujas. “We will organise a large procession on Ram Navami. We are not ready to give space to the BJP.”
The message was not lost on the BJP. “We are holding several Ram Pujas. Trinamool is trying to grab the issue with all its might,” Subhasis Chowdhury, a local BJP leader said.
Another BJP leader said he had set up a pandal with a Hanuman idol. Not far away was a Trinamool puja. “We will not learn about Ram from the BJP,” Priyanath Shaw, the local Trinamool councillor, said.