The Durga Puja is all set once more to show right into a political battlefield between Bengal’s ruling get together Trinamool Congress and its essential rival within the state, the BJP. Last yr, Mr Amit Shah had inaugurated a Durga Puja in Kolkata’s Salt Lake amid a lot controversy. This time, with meeting elections simply months away, the BJP is deploying Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has had the primary mover benefit. She has just about inaugurated 69 Durga Puja pandals as we speak in 10 districts. The inauguration spree will proceed over the subsequent two days, remotely and in particular person.
On October 22, the Prime Minister will take part just about in a Durga Puja being organised by the BJP’s Mahila Morcha and its cultural wing at EZCC, a cultural centre run by Central authorities’s Ministry of Culture.
22 Oct is “Shashti” — the primary day of the Durga Puja and PM Modi will greet the individuals of Bengal on a number of digital platforms as they start 5 days of worship.
The venue will probably be decked up as a typical Durga pandal with a full measurement idol of Goddess Durga.
Mr Sambit Patra could recite the “Chandi path” from the scriptures. But that plan could change to keep away from Mr Patra being labelled an outsider. It is a label the Trinamool is more and more utilizing for BJP leaders, so a neighborhood Purohit could provoke the worship.
Last yr, the BJP had made a concerted effort to make an entry into Durga Puja pandal circuit in Bengal however not, in response to sources, with stellar success.
At two main pandals in Kolkata, BJP leaders who have been members of Puja organising committees have been edged out, the BJP claims, by Trinamool’s stress techniques.
The Trinamool has all the time denied these expenses and Home Minister Amit Shah did inaugurate a puja pandal in BJ Block Salt Lake. But the organising committee and the neighbourhood was divided over it.
The BJP claims the native Trinamool-run civic physique even threatened to withdraw companies to the pandal.
So this yr, the BJP has been left with no different however organise its personal Durga Puja, sources say. State BJP chief Dilip Ghosh insists the get together is just not straight getting concerned in holding a Durga puja, but when the cultural wing and the ladies’s wing wish to do one thing they’re welcome.
Mr Ghosh is clearly selecting his battles. The Trinamool has an enormous benefit as over the past 10 years, Mamata Banerjee has made her presence at Puja pandals so sturdy that at some pandals up to now, the Durga idols seemed just like the chief minister, dressed like her and even wore the trademark hawai chappals.
The BJP can also be conscious that breaking into the Durga Puja circuit is a problem provided that the federal government has prolonged money incentives to Durga Puja committees. There are some 37,000 Puja pandals within the state as we speak and the Chief Minister has introduced a grant of 50,000 rupees to every.
The Durga Puja is such an intrinsic a part of Bengali life, tradition and psyche, the BJP can not distance itself from it. It has to compete for house and the prime minister himself appears set to affix the battle.