Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has recently announced a grant of Rs 25,000 to all the community Durga Pujas in the state, increasing it from Rs 10,000 last year. Many feel that the amount has been raised keeping in mind the rise of the BJP in West Bengal. The saffron party which had won only two seats in 2014 increased its tally to 18 in the 2019 Lok Sabha elctions.
Mamata Banerjee has also announced that community puja organisers will get 25 per cent concession on their electricity bills from the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation (CESC) as well the state electricity board. It should be stated here that pandals and light decorations are the major attractions for people visiting Kolkata during the Durga Puja.
“We have decided to increase the grant to the clubs organising Durga Puja from Rs 10,000 last year to Rs 25,000 this year,” Mamata Banerjee recently said at the administrative and coordination meeting with the Puja committees. She also said the state Police Department will provide an additional aid of Rs 5,000 to the community pujas organised by women.
Banerjee has also asked the prominent Puja organisers in the city to shun VIP entrance at the Puja pandals. “Do not make VIP gates for the pujas. People should stand in queue to see the idols,” Mamata banerjee said.
Hailing Bengal’s age-old tradition of communal harmony, Banerjee said no one will be allowed to politicise Durga Puja in West Bengal. “Bengal is the only state where Durga Puja and Muharram can be observed simultaneously. No other states achieve such a feat. This is Bengal’s age-old tradition and all of us have to work to hold on to it,” the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo said.
“We won’t let anyone politicise the Pujas in Bengal,” Mamata said taking a veiled dig at the BJP.
But whatever she may say, the BJP which till last year was not featuring prominently in the puja committees in Kolkata has started flexing its muscles. Knowing very well that community pujas attract thousands of people irrespective of their political affinity, the BJP is trying its best to take over puja committees in some parts of Kolkata. And to top it all Union home Minister Amit Shah is set to inaugurate this year, a number of top pujas in the city.
So this puja, there will be many other interesting developments to watch out for other than just pandal hopping and gorging delicacies.
PNN & Agencies