Days after the Income Tax department served notices to Durga Puja committees in the city asking them to declare their source of donations and file TDS, the Trinamool Congress has decided to take out protest rallies in Birbhum and Burdwan on Thursday.
“The prime minister is trying to stop Durga Puja in West Bengal. We don’t know what kind of a prime minister he (Modi) is. On January 17, protest rallies will be taken out in 25 blocks in Birbhum district,” TMC’s Birbhum district president Anubrata Mondal said.
The party will also take out similar rallies in a few areas of East and West Burdwan districts. The decision comes days after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee slammed the Centre for using the Income Tax (I-T) department to probe the Durga Puja committees. More than 60 prominent committees in Kolkata were served notice to declare their source of donations and file TDS. Members of most of the committees visited the Kolkata branch of the I-T department last week.
Accusing the Centre of trying to stop Durga Pujas in the state, Mamata had said, “They are now sending notices to the Durga Puja committees and asking for their expenditure details as they need to pay income taxes. A puja is a religious ritual. Why should income tax be paid for it? Are you trying to stop the Pujas? If you are trying to do that, we will not keep quiet. I will urge all the clubs to unite and protest against this dictum. I will ask them not to appear before the I-T department.”
The BJP, however, questioned “TMC’s attempts to stand by the puja committees”.
“What is the harm in submitting details of the expenditure to the I-T department? Are money from chit fund companies being used in such pujas? Why is she trying to shield them,” said state BJP general secretary Sayantan Basu.