Reiterating the state government’s promise of looking into the demands of stipends, houses and health insurance to Hindu priests, Backward Classes Welfare Minister Rajib Banerjee has said that they would discuss this with the stakeholders in November.
“I have heard about your (Hindu priests) demands that there should be stipend for Brahmin purohits. I want to sit with you after Durga puja and other festivals… say in November. We have to address this on a mass platform,” he said during a seminar held on Saturday here.
Banerjee, during a rally by Paschim Banga Rajya Sanatan Brahmin Trust last month, had promised the priests to look into their demand of stipends, houses, insurance and spread of Sanskrit.
After coming to power, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government had announced stipends for imams and muezzins, which was criticised by different quarters, including the Hindu Brahmin priests. Also, the BJP has been targeting the TMC and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for “Muslim appeasement” in the state.
However, after the Lok Sabha polls this year, in which the BJP won 18 seats in Bengal, the TMC decided to look into the demands of a section of Hindu voters, especially the upper caste Brahmins.
The BJP said it would not impact their vote base. “If the state government gives grants to purohits, then they would certainty take it. But, this will not make any impact in election,” said BJP leader Mukul Roy.
Sridhar Mishra, secretary the trust, said they will bring other smaller purohit organisations under the umbrella so that other priests also enjoy benefits, if given.