Kolkata: The BJP state unit in West Bengal is in a fix over party president Amit Shah pitching for Hindi and is unable to openly support the statement fearing that it might dent the party’s increasing mass base in Bengal.
The saffron party is apprehensive that the issue might snowball into a major political issue as Trinamool Congress (TMC) went hammer and tongs on Amit Shah’s ‘Hindi Divas’ tweet. The TMC accused the BJP of pushing its policy of imposing Hindi.
“Actually we can neither openly vouch for nor oppose it (Shah’s statement). If we support it then we will be branded anti-Bengalis and anti-Bengali language and this might have an adverse impact on our expansion in the state. Besides, opposing Amit Shahji’s statement is not possible for us,” a senior state BJP leader said.
Recollecting that the Bengali-non Bengali issue had cost BJP dear during the final phase of April-May Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal, another party leader said it had drawn a blank in the nine seats that went to polls then.
“We won seats in Bengal in the first six phases But in the final seventh phase we failed to win even a single seat because of this Bengali and non-Bengali issue. It was milked by TMC post the vandalism of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s statue May 14,” the BJP leader pointed out.
The TMC goons had vandalised the statute of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, who was the key figure in the Bengal Renaissance. The party then blamed BJP for it. TMC then made it out as an assault on Bengali culture and heritage against the ‘non Bengali culture’ of BJP and it paid off, the BJP leader alleged.
Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh had an official statement to offer. “It has nothing to do with the imposition of Hindi. He (Amit Shah) had just said that there should be one language which would be India’s identity globally and unite the country. He had not said anything against any other language. The opposition is only trying to make an issue out of it,” pointed out Ghosh.
The Union Home Minister had also said efforts will be made to expand Hindi to different parts of the country and asked everyone to use their native languages as much as possible.
The TMC leadership claimed that ‘the cat is out of the bag’ and BJP’s agenda of imposing Hindi has come out in the open.
“TMC will never allow this to happen in Bengal,” said party secretary Partha Chatterjee. “We should respect all languages and cultures equally. We may learn many languages but we should never forget our mother tongue. BJP is trying to impose Hindi across the country. We should oppose it. We are proud of our language and heritage,” Chatterjee TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said.
Against this backdrop, West Bengal Chief Minister will be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Wednesday in New Delhi.