As West Bengal prepares for next week’s Durga puja holidays, the race to win political mileage ahead of the 2021 Assembly elections seemed to have intensified, with the ruling TMC and its main rival, the BJP, all going to love measures and strengthen the vote. banks
The TMC award has already announced a series of avas for over 37,000 community organizers, refraining from criticism from some sections of society that questioned the government’s move, amid the Covid-19 crisis.
BJP, for its part, has made arrangements for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s virtual speech to the people on the occasion of ‘Maha Sashti’, which, the party thinks, will set the tone for the five-day gala.
Although some restrictions have been placed on the eve of the pandemic, both sides have made detailed plans to spread their message during the annual festival, which has now turned into a political pie, of which every party wants to have a part.
Over the past decade, several senior ministers and leaders of the ruling TMC have been seen patronizing major puja pandas across the state.
The saffron camp, however, is taking another path to challenge TMC’s decade-long hegemony. It has decided to set up medical camps and stables to display books on its ideologies and to educate the masses on the controversial issues of Citizenship Law (Amendment) and farm laws, as part of efforts to connect with people.
Initially, the women wing of West Bengal BJP will host Durga puja at the Eastern Zonal Cultural Center (EZCC) in Salt Lake, on the eastern edge of Kolkata.
“There will be a three-day cultural program at the EZCC, which will be broadcast live on various online platforms. Due to the pandemic, the number of party stalls outside the pandemics will be smaller this time. to this, we will organize medical camps, “BJP Vice President Pratap Banerjee told PTI.
According to sources in the saffron camp, the party has set a goal of reaching 14,000 of the 37,000 puja committees in the state. Last year, he had managed to erect only 4,000 stalls across the state.
The BJP, which has been trying to take the reins of puja committees for the past two years, is facing strong resistance from TMC, which continues to have an iron fist control over these puja committees.
Asked why Durga Puja makes panels so lucrative, IMC leaders, who did not want to be named, said the party, since coming to power in 2011, has taken control of various unions, school panels, clubs, village committees, filling these organizations with their own people.
“Although the Left Front never actively participated in Durga Puja, its leaders had strong control over the committees. They functioned as an extension of the local party level. To increase our mass base, our first goal was to obtain “These committees. In this effort, the government came out helpful,” said a senior TMC leader.
The five-day celebration seems to be more than just about traditions, culture and celebrations, as parties try to make claims on committees – most of which are controlled by influential locals.
The TMC government, which last year distributed Rs 25,000 to associations, has increased the amount to Rs 50,000 this year, along with a complete abolition of municipal and fire department taxes and a 50 per cent abolition of energy bills electricity.
In addition, local clubs also receive an annual sponsorship of $ 2 from the Mamata Banerjee government.
“Most of these clubs have an influential local TMC leader as a defender. This is the license to get the dolet,” said a member of a puja association in northern Kolkata.
Last year’s polls in Lok Sabha have changed socio-political equations on the ground.
TMC, which until 2018 controlled 95 percent of the puja committees, has lost some of the BJP, which, with its deep pockets and growing public support, has been partially successful in undermining the ruling party’s influence on the organizers.
When it comes to the inauguration of Durga Pujas, the brave TMC chief and Prime Minister Mamata Banerjee has no match.
Banerjee, who for the past decade has been seen inaugurating hundreds of Durga puja pandas every year, was forced to discover places where they were online because of the pandemic.
However, she made it a point to attend a religious ritual at the Chetla Agrani pandal, patronized by cabinet minister and her close aide Firhad Hakim.
Amid capturing a possible increase in Covid-19 cases after Durga puja, the CM had said on Thursday that appropriate security measures were being taken by the organizers.
Her party, as every year, will set up stalls for ‘Jago-Bangla’ – TMC spokesman – outside the various brands.
In addition to books on the failures of the Union government and the success of the IMC award, the party will also highlight issues such as the atrocities in Dalit and the “harmful consequences” of farm laws.
“This year, too, there will be booths, albeit fewer in number than in previous years. Instead, we will have COVID awareness kiosks outside every pandal, from where we will distribute free masks and cleansers for visitors, “said an elderly man.
Partha Chatterjee, the minister of state and general secretary of the ruling party, claimed that the BJP, with its “anti-Bengali mind”, has canceled Durga puja’s celebrations in the states where she is in power.
“In Bengal, as they can not do much, they are trying to politicize the festival. It is not the job of a political party to formally organize a puja. Individuals (from the party) can only be part of it,” he said.
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