Kolkata: Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) is eyeing to cash on the biggest festival of West Bengal, Durga Puja.
Bengal BJP has decided to organise a Durga Puja in Kolkata.
Last year, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had inaugurated a puja in Kolkata’s Salt Lake amid controversies. This time, with assembly elections just months away, the BJP is itself organizing a puja. And even utilising Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate several Durga puja pandals virtually this year starting with their own puja at Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre (EZCC) on October 22.
The women’s wing of the saffron brigade will be organising Durga puja in the state.
According to sources, Sourav Ganguly and his wife Dona Ganguly is also invited during the inauguration and reportedly Dona Ganguly is also requested to perform during the inauguration.
State BJP leadership said that the EZCC, an auditorium owned by the Ministry of Culture was chosen as the venue for the puja to avoid any potential obstruction by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government.
“Consider this as BJP’s family puja. We are all looking forward to welcoming the Holy mother,” said BJP Hooghly MP and state general secretary Locket Chatterjee.
State BJP general secretary Sayantan Basu said that over the last few years narrow-minded politics over Durga Puja was going on in Bengal and also that several BJP leaders were excluded from big-ticket puja committees.
“So this year we will do our own Durga Puja. It will be conducted in accordance with Bengali culture and tradition and also by abiding all the covid protocols. We have also planned for several cultural programmes during the festivity. It will be conducted by the cultural wing of the party,” mentioned Basu.
It is pertinent to mention that the TMC dispensation has already announced a slew of doles for over 37,000 organisers of community pujas, shrugging off criticism by certain sections of the society that questioned the government’s move, amid the Covid-19 crisis.
The saffron camp, however, is taking a different route to challenge the decade-long hegemony of the TMC. It has decided to set up medical camps, and stalls to display books on its ideologies and educate masses on the contentious issues of Citizenship (Amendment) Act and farm laws, as part of the efforts to connect with people.
Sources also said that the party has set a target to reach out to 14,000 of the 37,000 puja committees in the state. Last year, it had managed to erect only 4,000 stalls across the state.
The BJP, which had been trying to take reins of the puja committees over the last two years, is facing stiff resistance from the TMC, which continues to have an iron fist control over these puja committees.
According to several political experts, festivals are gradually becoming more important for the political parties as they can utilize the platform for mass connect especially before the elections.
Many political experts claimed that the five-day fest is no longer just about traditions, culture and celebrations, as parties strive to stake claim over the committees most of which are controlled by influential locals.
State education minister and TMC secretary general, Partha Chatterjee, alleged that the BJP, with its ‘anti-Bengali mindset’, has cancelled Durga puja celebrations in states where it is in power.
“In Bengal, as they can’t do much, they are trying to politicise the festival. It is not the job of a political party to officially organise a puja. Individuals (from the party) can only be part of it,” mentioned Chatterjee.