The war of words between the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and BJP over control of community Durga Puja committees has hit a new mark after Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee alleged that the saffron party is trying to “forcibly grab the Pujas” like the municipalities and gram panchayats. The BJP retaliated by saying that the TMC, on the contrary, was trying to “thwart them” from being part of the Puja committees.
“The way they are trying to forcibly grab the municipalities and gram panchayats, they are doing the same for the Durga Pujas. However, the mantra for the two are different and they are not getting any success. Durga Puja can’t be grabbed by using evil powers. They should come to us and get training on how to organise a Durga Puja first,” Mukherjee told media persons in Kolkata Sunday. Mukherjee is at the helm of the community Durga Puja at Ekdalia Evergreen, one of the biggest crowd-pullers in south Kolkata.
BJP state secretary Sayantan Basu, however, said people want their party leaders to be part of the community Durga Pujas, but the Trinamool Congress is trying to thwart them forcibly.
“He (Mukherjee) is an old man with a stale mindset. He should retire and allow the new generation to organise the Durga Pujas. People of Bengal want the BJP leaders to participate in the community Pujas. A number of BJP leaders are in the Puja committees now, but the TMC, with the help of police, is trying to thwart us,” Basu said.
Road to Bengali mind & heart!
The BJP, after its good show in this year’s Lok Sabha polls, is looking forward to penetrate in Bengal further by active participation in Durga Puja, while the TMC is in no mood to move an inch. The BJP’s move is also aimed at countering the TMC’s ‘Bengali image’ push. So it is essential for the ruling party to maintain its grip on the Durga Puja committees to thwart a rising BJP. On the other hand, the BJP, known for organising Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti rallies, now want to taste the Puja waters to touch the Bengali heart and mind. As Durga Puja nears, there’s every chance of an intensified tussle.
The BJP now wants to be part of the Durga Puja in a big way throughout Bengal. Party leaders are approaching the organisers to allow them to be part of their committees. Leaders have also expressed keenness to get sponsors and top national leaders for inauguration.
“We are holding talks with some of the puja organisers to bring Home Minister Amit Shah ji and other central ministers to inaugurate Durga Pujas here. We have been asked by our central leadership to focus on Durga Puja to reach out to the people,” state BJP general secretary Basu had earlier told The Indian Express.
Durga Puja is scheduled to be held from October 4 this year and presently the organising committees are being formed.
While Left do not attach itself to Durga Puja, the TMC has been at the helm of many Puja committees even before it came to power in 2011. After that most of the committees have TMC leaders as their patrons or presidents. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee herself inaugurates dozens of Durga Pujas in Kolkata, most with the TMC leaders in organising committees. The Bengal government also organises a Durga Puja carnival on Red Road after Dashami.
In Bengal, the BJP won 18 Lok Sabha seats, against the TMC’s 22.
It also got nearly 40% vote share. In the areas where the BJP won, party leaders stated that they are getting offers from the local Puja committees to be a part of these.