Union Home Minister Amit Shah was left red-faced on the first of a two-day visit to Bengal, to kickstart BJP’s preparations for the Assembly elections next year.
During BJP’s tribal outreach programme in Bankura on Thursday, 5 November, Shah offered a floral tribute to a statue of an anonymous tribal hunter in Bankura, mistaking it as that of tribal icon Birsa Munda, a legendary leader who fought for India’s independence and was killed at the young age of 25.
The tribal leaders then pointed to the BJP that the statue was not of Munda at all, but of another tribal hunter.
Realising the faux pas, BJP leaders then placed a portrait of Munda on the feet of the anonymous statue. Shah showered petals at the statue and garlanded the portrait, reported NDTV.
After the visit, Shah tweeted saying: “Paid floral tributes to legendary tribal leader Bhagwan Birsa Munda ji in Bankura, West Bengal today. Birsa Munda ji’s life was dedicated towards the rights and upliftment of our tribal sisters & brothers. His courage, struggles and sacrifices continue to inspire all of us.”
Paid floral tributes to legendary tribal leader Bhagwan Birsa Munda ji in Bankura, West Bengal today.— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) November 5, 2020
Birsa Munda ji’s life was dedicated towards the rights and upliftment of our tribal sisters & brothers. His courage, struggles and sacrifices continue to inspire all of us. pic.twitter.com/1PYgKiyDuY
Political Leaders React
Soon after the incident, TMC leaders jumped on the bandwagon and targeted Shah for his mistake.
“’Bohiragato’ (outsiders) are at it again!” the party handle tweeted.
“Union Home Minister Amit Shah is so ignorant of Bengal’s culture that he insulted Bhagwan Birsa Munda by garlanding a wrong idol & placed his photo at someone else’s foot. Will he ever respect Bengal?” Trinamool Congress tweeted.
'Bohiragato' are at it again!— All India Trinamool Congress (@AITCofficial) November 6, 2020
Union Home Minister @AmitShah is so ignorant of Bengal's culture that he insulted Bhagwan Birsa Munda by garlanding a wrong idol & placed his photo at someone else's foot. Will he ever respect Bengal?#BengalAsksAmitShahhttps://t.co/045lw50TV2
Referring to the Birsa Munda incident, TMC MP Nusrat Jahan said: From Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar to Birsa Munda, what is this blatant disrespect towards Bengal’s legendary icons, Amit Shahji? How many more times will you misuse Bengal’s culture & heritage for your political propaganda?”
Meanwhile, Trinamool MP Derek O’Brien said: “You may be an expert on the Gujarat Gymkhana. But not Bengal.”
Tribal Leaders Call it ‘Unacceptable’
Biplab Saren, district secretary of the Bharat Jakat Majhi Pargana Mahal, said: “BJP could have chosen better alternatives than placing Munda’s picture at the foot of the statue,” Telegraph reported.
Sangiri Hembram, a leader of the prominent tribal outfit Bharat Jakat Majhi Pargana Mahal, said: “This is unacceptable from the BJP. This is unacceptable from Shah. How is it (the mistake) even possible?” the Telegraph reported.
Bankura BJP president Vivekananda Patra cited the lack of signage as a reason for the mixup.
(With inputs from NDTV and Telegraph India)
Courtesy – TheQuint