In the backdrop of filmmaker Leena Manimekalai sparking controversy with a poster of her film 'Kaali', Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, 10 July, invoked the name of the deity during a video address, saying that "blessings of Maa Kali are always with the country."
Modi's address triggered a fresh war of words between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC), with MP Mahua Moitra and Amit Malviya exchanging barbs on Twitter.
The 'Kaali' poster took internet by storm as several users, including BJP workers, claimed that it "hurt religious sentiments" with the depiction of a Hindu Goddess smoking cigarettes.
Defending the depiction, Moitra had asserted that she had every right as an individual to imagine the deity as a “meat-eating and alcohol-accepting goddess."
BJP, TMC Clash on Twitter
In his address on the centenary celebrations of 15th president of Ramakrishna Math, Swami Atmasthananda, Modi said-
"Swami Ramakrishna Paramhansa was one such saint who had a vision of Maa Kali and had surrendered his whole being at the feet of Maa Kali. He used to say this whole world, everything is pervaded by the consciousness of Goddess Kali. This consciousness is visible in the Kali Puja of Bengal. This consciousness is visible in the faith of Bengal and the country...When your faith and beliefs are pure, the power herself shows you the way. The limitless blessings of Maa Kali are always with India."Narendra Modi
After his speech, BJP's IT cell in-charge Amit Malviya took to Twitter to say, "Modi speaks reverentially about Maa Kaali being the center of devotion, not just for Bengal but whole of India. On the other hand, a TMC MP insults Maa Kaali and Mamata Banerjee instead of acting against her, defends her obnoxious portrayal of Maa Kaali..."
In response, Moitra posted,
Meanwhile, CPI(M) MP Bikash Bhattacharya also censured the PM, urging him to talk about the Constitution, not religion.
“The PM should talk about the Constitution. Instead, he is speaking on a particular religion and invoking God. Our Constitution tells us to safeguard all the religions, and the Prime Minister should echo the Constitution," Bhattacharya said.
(With inputs from The Indian Express.)