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Bengali politics dominated by the Ram Navami debate; PM Modi poked fun at Mamata, and TMC announced the ‘Shobha Yatra’

Bengali politics are once again centered on the Ram Navami controversy. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) declared on Wednesday that it will host a Ram Navami “shobha yatra” in Howrah after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s criticism of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for “trying to obstruct the BJP’s Ram Navami’s plan and opposing CAA.”

Speaking at a rally in Balurghat, Bengal, Prime Minister Modi said that the TMC had attempted to halt the Ram Navami program in Bengal “like always.” “However, everyone will celebrate Shobha Yatra tomorrow as the court has granted permission,” he said.

Following the speech, Mamata Banerjee’s party released a statement announcing that they will “attend and cover Ram Navami Shobha Yatra with Prasun Banerjee, the Howrah candidate, along with Arup Roy and Bengal sports minister Manoj Tiwary, in presence of party’s star campaigner Saayoni Ghosh.”

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) was given permission by the Calcutta High Court on Monday to conduct a march in Howrah on Ram Navami, subject to certain requirements to guarantee the event runs well.

The petitioners had asked permission to hold the march, which was to begin close to Shibpur IIEST and end at the Ramkrishnapur ferry ghat on the Hooghly River’s banks.

Judge Jay Sengupta approved the march, with the conditions that it must not halt during Ram Navami, which is on Wednesday, and that no offensive slogans be yelled.

The court ordered that the procession could only have 200 participants, and five volunteers would keep an eye on things to make sure the figure stays under that limit.

The West Bengal government drew attention to disturbances that occurred during the procession the previous year, pointing to an ongoing NIA probe into the event.

Given this, the organizers filed a case in the high court when the administration suggested a different path for the parade, which they disputed.

Due to religious clashes in the state in recent years, Ram Navami demonstrations have become significant political problems, with the opposition BJP and the governing TMC blaming each other of instigating violence. The TMC, unwilling to give in to the saffron camp, is also contributing as the BJP attempts to unite Hindus ahead of the elections. The party is organizing rallies around the state and the state government has proclaimed Ram Navami a holiday for the first time.

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