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On Prashant Kishor’s Suggestion, Mamata Tells Leaders to Desist From Politicising Pujas

Party insiders claimed that the suggestion came from political expert Prashant Kishor as he felt that the party’s work should be highlighted to the masses instead of an emphasis on the leaders.

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday asked party leaders who are affiliated to Durga Pujas committees not to put up banners and posters of political parties including hers in any of the pandals across the state.

Party insiders claimed that the suggestion came from political expert Prashant Kishor as he felt that the party’s work should be highlighted to the masses instead of an emphasis on party leaders including Mamata Banerjee’s in puja pandals.

Mamata conveyed the message during a meeting with senior leaders and Prashant Kishor at her Kalighat residence on Monday.

The TMC chief also asked party leaders to put up ‘Jago Bangla stalls’ at the Puja Pandals. ‘Jago Bangla’ is the mouthpiece of TMC.

“The whole idea is to depoliticized the Puja and to make masses aware of government schemes meant for the poor. In the meeting, she told us that party is above any individual leaders,” a senior TMC leader who wished to remain unnamed said.

She also said that Durga Puja is for all and no one should differentiate between the “VIP” and other, emphasizing that the best possible arrangements should be made for the common people, the leader said.

She asked party leaders and workers to maintain a low profile and not to highlight the name of even a single leader in the Durga Puja. “She meant that it should not look like Bobby’s Puja (Firhad Hakim), Aroop’s Puja or Sujit’s Puja. Her message was Puja for all. No individual should highlight themselves,” TMC sources said.

Recently, during a meeting with the Durga Puja organizers at Netaji Indoor Stadium, Mamata had requested all the VIPs not to visit puja pandals in a blue beacon fitted cars after 5 PM as this would cause a lot of difficulties to the common people. “I would also request Puja committees not to issue any VIP passes this time. Puja is for everybody and everybody should enjoy it equally,” she had said.

Durga Pujas is celebrated in more than 25,000 pandals across the state, of which 2000 is celebrated in Kolkata alone. TMC heavyweights like MLA Sujit Bose, sports minister Aroop Biswas, Panchayats and Rural Development minister Subrata Mukherjee, Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim are closely associated with some of the biggest Durga Puja celebrations in Kolkata.

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