Kolkata: Having put his party in a spot over his visit to Tarapith temple recently, Mr Subhash Chakraborty upped the ante attributing the CPI-M'sfailure to penetrate beyond its bastions of West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura to the party'srefusal to acknowledge India'scultural heritage.
While the CPI-M state leadership made an all-out effort to distance itself from the maverick transport minister'svisit to Tarapith, Mr Chakraborty justified it through a discourse on etiquette and Indian culture. CPI-M secretary Mr Biman Bose remained tightlipped for the second day though the party'sstate secretariat, at its meeting this morning, decided to call the minister to explain his visit to Tarapith.
Stating that he is prepared with an explanation, Mr Chakraborty hit out at party colleagues, not even sparing mentor Mr Jyoti Basu who, he said, had covered his head while visiting a Gurudwara after Indira Gandhi'sassassination. Questioned on his visit to the temple, Mr Chakraborty initially said he did not offer prayers there. Then he went on to say: ?What could I have done with the flowers they (the priests) handed me. Should I have thrown them away or kicked them?? The Communist minister then bragged about his mastery of Hindu scriptures. ?The priests then began chanting mantras. I told them I knew more (mantras) than they did. I have memorised the eighteenth part (Ashtadash Khanda) of the Gita. I did what was expected of me at a place of worship,? he said.
Harping on etiquette, Mr Chakraborty said: ?I fold my hands in a namashkar which is more polite than the Communist red salute (with the right fist clenched).?
While senior party leader Mr Benoy Konar said the transport minister should first decide whether he is an atheist or a Communist, Mr Chakraborty thundered: ?First I am a Hindu, then a Brahmin. This is my initial identity.?
(Statesman News Service)