Kolkata | West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced on Tuesday that she will lead a 'rally for harmony' in Kolkata on January 22, the day on which the Ram temple consecration ceremony will be held in Ayodhya.
Banerjee, the chief of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), said she would begin the procession from the Hazra crossing in south Kolkata after paying obeisance to Goddess Kali at the Kalighat temple.
"Many people have been asking me about various temples, but I have nothing to say. I have always said that religion is personal, but festivities are for everyone. On January 22, I will visit the Kalighat temple and offer 'puja'. Following that, we will hold an inter-faith rally from Hazra Crossing to Park Circus Maidan," she told a press conference at the state secretariat.
"This has nothing to do with any other programme," she said, referring to the consecration ceremony.
The march, to be organised by the TMC, will touch upon places of worship of different religions, including mosques, churches and gurdwaras, before culminating at the Park Circus Maidan where a public meeting will be held, she said.
Banerjee asked party workers to organise similar rallies in all the districts of the state.
She said that 'Pran Pratistha' or consecration is not the job of politicians but of priests.
"It is not our job to do 'Pran Pratistha'. It is the job of the priests. Our job is to create infrastructure," she said.
Reacting to Banerjee's announcement, the BJP said that the people of West Bengal were watching everything and they would give a "befitting reply".
"The TMC has decided to give the Ram temple event in Ayodhya a miss, and that is why they are now making excuses," state BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya.
Senior CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty criticised both the BJP and the TMC for deflecting attention from crucial issues such as unemployment with programmes like this.
The consecration ceremony of the Ram temple in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh will be held on January 22 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other noted personalities.