Festival of Politics: Modi’s ‘Puja Ki Baat’ Is BJP’s Answer To Mamata’s Grip Over Durga Puja Organisers

Festival of Politics: Modi’s ‘Puja Ki Baat’ Is BJP’s Answer To Mamata’s Grip Over Durga Puja Organisers
File photo of Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and PM Narendra Modi.

File picture of Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and PM Narendra Modi.

The BJP is evidently brainstorming on means to invade and usurp not simply bodily political areas, however even the digital ones which had been beforehand occupied by Mamata Banerjee.

  • CNN-News18
  • Last Updated: October 13, 2020, 8:46 PM IST
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Sougata Mukhopadhyay

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s choice to handle the nation on the eve of Durga Puja by way of a particular webcast known as ‘Puja Ki Baat’ on 22 October is, certainly, a primary.

It additionally reveals that the BJP is all chips in to make use of each out there alternative to knock on the hearts and minds of the folks of West Bengal within the run-up to the excessive stakes 2021 state polls.

The social gathering is evidently brainstorming on methods and means to invade and usurp not simply bodily political areas, which it’s anyway constantly pushing for, however even the digital ones which had been beforehand occupied by Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee.

Inaugurating Durga Puja pandals in Kolkata has been Banerjee’s forte for a few years now. Her pandal inauguration spree in a number of the previous years began even earlier than the Mahalaya, clearly to accommodate ever growing requests from puja organisers from throughout Kolkata, and went on until Panchami, the eve of the massive puja days. Banerjee chanting the Chandi Mantra from puja platforms earlier than a milling crowd is by now a well-recognized spectacle in the course of the season.

Many imagine that Banerjee’s use of puja platforms to succeed in out to the carnivalesque lots can also be her not-so-subtle means of creating her footing within the conventional Hindu tradition and rituals which Durga Puja embodies. Constantly accused by the BJP of “minority appeasement”, Banerjee praying with folded palms earlier than the Goddess or climbing elevated platforms to color the third eye of the Divine Mother definitely made probably the most impressionable counter optics.

The onset of the coronavirus pandemic has compelled the Trinamool Congress chief to remain bodily away from inaugurating pandals this 12 months and as a substitute full the formalities in a digital mode from the state secretariat, Nabanna. She has earmarked 15-17 October for this function.

Indeed, what Banerjee appears to have misplaced out when it comes to bodily presence in pandals, she could have greater than made up within the slew of sops she doled out to neighborhood puja committees this 12 months.

Her announcement of doubling the once-a-year grant from Rs 25,000 final 12 months to Rs 50,000 this 12 months to 37,000 puja committees throughout the state was greeted with loud cheers from contributors on the Netaji Indoor Stadium assembly with puja committee representatives. That was shortly adopted up by bulletins of full waiver of municipal taxes and a 50 per cent waiver of electrical energy payments for the gladly accepting committee members.

It is a straight hit of almost Rs 200 crore to the general public exchequer in a cash-strapped state which is crying hoarse over its dues from Centre over GST share and Amphan aid. But few doubt the political efficacy of such a transfer in an election-bound state.

It is that this house that the BJP desires to sink its enamel in. It is not any shock subsequently that the state unit of the social gathering determined to ship a proposal to the PMO to have Modi make a particular handle to the folks on Sasthi morning when most residents of Bengal can be inclined to briefly push the Pandemic misery within the backburner and stay up for the 5 days of festivities.

All ears, subsequently, on what PM Modi has to say to seize fashionable creativeness.

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