Mamata announces Rs.70 crore for Durga Puja committees this year

Published : August 31, 2019 18:14 IST

Getting ready for Durga puja in Kolkata, a file picture. This time the puja committees have been promised more money by the State government. Photo: K.R. Deepak

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool supremo Mamata Banerjee has announced that her government will be doling out more than Rs.70 crore to around 28,000 Durga Puja committees this year. Last year the amount was Rs.28 crore. The move shows that Mamata is not about to give up the tendency to play the religious card in her politics, even though in the recent past it has not worked in her favour.

The State government will be giving a grant of Rs.25,000 to each community puja and for puja committees headed by women or having a large representation of women the grant may increase to Rs.30,000 or even more. Last year, the committees received Rs.10,000 each. The Chief Minister also announced a 25 per cent reduction in the power bills in the puja pandals. “Last year we gave Rs.10,000 to all the clubs…. This time many Pujas have monetary needs. We don’t beg from anybody or depend on anybody’s pity. This time we have increased the amount to Rs.25,000…. This is to promote our heritage, a national festival, our tourism, culture and community development. We will not allow anybody to politicise Bengal’s Puja,” she said.

In Bengal’s political circles, however, this move is being perceived as a desperate attempt to win back her Hindu support base, much of which has moved over to the side of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as was evident in the Lok Sabha polls this year. “She has realized that the people of the State have moved away from her. She cannot hope to win back their support with bribes like this,” said State BJP president Dilip Ghosh.

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