Referring to the BJP as “fake saffron”, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said the party uses religion and its values to suit its political interest. Inaugurating the skywalk at Dakshineswar temple, Mamata said, “Those who indulge in religious politics, serve no purpose. Firhad Hakim, our urban development minister, was made the chairman of a development committee. One section raised objections because of his religion. We do not believe in such discrimination. One cannot become a Hindu just by wearing saffron robes. BJP is fake saffron. They only tell lies and indulge in religious politics. True saffron are organisations like Bharat Sevasram Sangha and Ramakrishna Mission, who work for the people.”
The Dakshineswar Rani Rashmoni Skywalk, which was inaugurated a day before Kali Puja, is a 10.5 metre-wide and 340 metre-long elevated glass-and-steel pathway, stretching from the Dakshineswar railway station to the compound of the famous Kali temple.
The TMC chief said that a society is incomplete without all communities and a religious festival calls for the participation of people of all religious faiths. “We strongly believe, religion is personal while festivals are for all. We participate in Eid, Christmas, Guru Nanak Jayanti as well as Durga Puja. Ramakrishna Paramhansa had said, joto mot toto poth (There are as many paths as there are as many opinions). Is the human body complete without any organ? A family also comprises several members. Similarly, a society is incomplete without all communities,” she added.
The Dakshineswar Kali Temple draws around 1.4 crore devotees every year. The skywalk was built to resolve traffic congestion in the area and allow devotees reach the premises with ease.
There are a total of 14 escalators, four elevators and eight staircases allowing users to embark and disembark at several points. There will be around 137 shops selling items of worship and food inside the walkway.
“The history of Bengal is incomplete without Rani Rashmoni. She was associated with the renaissance movement in Bengal. We are honoured to have been able to name this skywalk after her. Dakshineswar was very congested area. That is why we decided to solve the problem by constructing this skywalk. The hawkers will be rehabilitated,” Mamata said.
“We faced many hurdles while constructing this skywalk. A section of people misled the hawkers. The matter went to court and we did not concede ground. This skywalk will benefit the devotees and people at large. I had promised that hawkers will be rehabilitated. There are 137 stalls which have been have set up here. They will be distributed to those hawkers in seven days’ time,” she added.
The chief minister further said that the government is planning to set up a skywalk at Kalighat Temple as well.