BJP launched its 'Gandhi Sankalp Yatra' in West Bengal on Wednesday as part of the party's nation-wide initiative to propagate the ideals of the Father of the Nation on his sesquicentennial.
The nation-wide campaign was launched by BJP president Amit Shah on October 2, on the occasion of Gandhiji's 150th birth anniversary. It has been delayed in West Bengal due to the ongoing festive season, BJP sources said. The Yatra will boost the prime minister's 'Swachh Bharat Mission', they said.
In the continuation of our Gandhi Yatra , the public meeting at Dharma will focus on environment issues and stress on discarding single use plastics & save the natural habitat besides other topics.#Gandhi150 pic.twitter.com/T6njHpR2qK— Dilip Ghosh (@DilipGhoshBJP) October 16, 2019
The BJP programme drew sharp reaction from the ruling TMC and opposition Congress in the state who mocked the saffron camp as "preachers of Godse". Godse is Nathuram Godse, Mahatma Gandhi's assassin.
Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh took out a rally on the occasion from Karnogarh to Matkatpur-Inda at Kharagpur in West Midnapore district.
Ghosh said at Kharagpur, "The ideals of Gandhiji are very important at a time when Bengal is witnessing violence and killings everyday."
The Gandhi Sankalp Yatra rallies will cover 6,500 km in the state in 10 days and the administration will be informed about the yatra and its course in advance, he said. The Yatra is scheduled to travel at least 150 km in every parliamentary constituency. West Bengal has 42 of them.
Asked if the party is apprehending any restriction by the state administration, Ghosh said, "This yatra is being taken out by BJP to preach Gandhi's ideals of non-violence and cleanliness to the present generation.
"The motive of the rally is to reach out to the masses with the principles of non-violence when political violence unleashed by TMC has gripped the state," Ghosh said.
The state government had last year slammed brakes on the saffron party's Rath Yatra, citing possible breakdown in law and order.
Reacting to the Gandhi Sankalp Yatra, senior TMC leader Ajit Maity called it "the biggest joke of the decade". "Those who are preachers of Nathuram Godse are now taking out Gandhi Sankalp Yatra. This is the biggest joke of the decade. This is nothing but a farce. BJP is trying to fool the masses," he said.
West Bengal PCC president Somen Mitra too mocked BJP for its awareness campaign on Gandhiji and added that "two most undemocratic and communal political parties - the TMC and the BJP are now engaged in battle over the legacy of Gandhiji.