Not against any institution: Mamata praises RKM, Bharat Sevashram amid row

West Bengal CM says she was simply criticising one or two persons linked to institutions for indulging in politics

Mamata Banerjee campaigns in Kanthi, Purba Medinipur district (photo: PTI)
Mamata Banerjee campaigns in Kanthi, Purba Medinipur district (photo: PTI)


Praising the Ramakrishna Mission or Bharat Sevashram Sangha for their philanthropic works, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on Monday, May 20 said she was not against any institution but criticised one or two persons for indulging in politics.

Banerjee had on Saturday alleged that some monks of the two monastic orders were working "under instructions of the BJP". The statement drew sharp criticism from PM Narendra Modi who alleged that she was "under pressure from Muslim extremists" and was threatening these socio-religious organisations to "appease" the TMC's vote bank.

Addressing an election rally in Bankura's Onda, Banerjee said, "I am not against Ramakrishna Mission, why should I be against an institution or insult it? I have spoken about one or two persons."

The chief minister also praised Bharat Sevashram Sangha, saying that it works for the people. "I had spoken about Kartik Maharaj, he did not allow the Trinamool Congress agent to sit (at a polling booth) in Rejinagar," Banerjee said.

Claiming that the Bharat Sevashram Sangha monk from Murshidabad district was working for the BJP, she accused him of instigating people when clashes between two groups happened at Rejinagar. "If he wants to work for the BJP, he can, but should do it wearing its badge," she said.

Earlier on Monday, Swami Pradiptananda Maharaj, also known as Kartik Maharaj, of Murshidabad's Bharat Sevashram Sangha said he had sent a legal notice to Banerjee, demanding an apology for her alleged defamatory remarks about the organisation.

While confirming that he had served the notice, he told PTI, "Had chief minister Mamata Banerjee defamed me personally, I would not have been concerned. As a spiritual leader, we are not affected by personal criticism as we are here to serve the people. However, she defamed the organisation, which is unacceptable."

Sangha national secretary Swami Biswatmananda Maharaj, however, claimed he was unaware of the issue.

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