Taking their sycophancy and genuflection before the political mistress to a sickening level, three pandal committees in West Bengal have collaborated to make idols of state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as Goddess Durga for the upcoming Puja. The committees ― Nazrul Park Unnayan Samiti and Crowdnxt Mediia Art ― collaborated to depict the three-time chief minister as Bengal’s most venerated Goddess Durga for her social welfare schemes. Speaking to media on 2 September, the committee chiefs claimed Mamata would sport 10 hands, each representing her government’s schemes like Lakhi Bhandar, Shikshashree, Swasthya Sathi etc.
“Everyone in Bengal considers her Goddess Durga. The benefits she provided to people have not been seen in world,” said Partha Sarkar, vice president, Nazrul Park Unnayan Samiti to media. He said, The 10 hands of Goddess Durga will be shown reaching out to people with schemes like Lakhi Bhandar, Shikshashree, Swasthya Sathi etc.
Meanwhile, idol maker Mintu Pal described the design of the idol saying, “The fibreglass idol will be prepared, keeping the facial impression of the chief minister in mind. The idol will sport a white saree and in the background there will be the logo of Biswa Bangla. Sharing details of the cost, Crowdnxt Mediia Art Director Dipanwita Bagchi said, “It costs Rs 2.10 lakhs. Her 10 hands will represent her government schemes. It was a big challenge for me to complete this concept”.
Meanwhile, the chief minister’s home constituency Bhowanipore is planning to have a ‘Khela Hobe’ theme to Durga Puja festivities this year. The slogan coined by the AITC during its poll campaign in May will be depicted in the pandals via sports-themed images and objects. Organisers plan to screen live football and cricket matches, while a model of Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra with his javelin will be be made.
“Didi stays in our locality. She has coined the slogan ‘Khela Hobe’. We, therefore, plan to use the spirit of this slogan through models. You will see East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, all in our pandal,” said organiser Subhankar Roy Choudhury, general secretary Bhowanipur Durgotsab Samity.
In a bid to keep Durga puja safe, the community Durga puja committees in Kolkata have decided to ensure that all those who are involved in the rituals and other related works are vaccinated in the next three months. “From our members and locals frequenting the pandals to artisans, priests, dhakis and electricians everyone will have to get Covid-19 vaccines in the next three months,” said Forum for Durgotsab official Partha Ghosh to media. Forum for Durgotsab, an umbrella organisation of 550 community Durga Pujas in Kolkata and neighbouring areas, published guidelines to ensure that the festivities are held following Covid-19 safety protocols.
Reacting sharply, the Bharatiya Janata Party has described the ‘idolisation’ as an attack on religious sentiments and demanded Mamata Banerjee to stop the organisers from going ahead.
Notably, in 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had rebuked a man who wanted to build a temple with the country’s premier as the deity in it. On admonition by the prime minister, the man desisted, covering up Modi’s idol and replacing it with one of Bharat Mata.
Last month, somebody in Pune, Maharashtra, made a similar effort. BJP worker Mayur Munde had set up a small temple alongside a road in Aundh area a few days ago and installed a bust of Modi in it. His action attracted sharp criticism not only from opposition parties but even local BJP leaders. The bust was then removed.
“This deification of Mamata Banerjee, who has the blood of innocent Bengalis on her hand, following the gruesome post-poll violence in Bengal, is nauseating. This is an insult to goddess Durga. Mamata Banerjee must stop this. She is hurting the sensibilities of Hindus of Bengal,” Amit Malviya said, reacting to the development in West Bengal.