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TMC begins Durga Puja preparations with Mahalaya pledge of serving COVID-19 affected

Throwing caution to the winds: Devotees throng the flower market in Kolkata on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: DIBYANGSHU SARKAR

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said while COVID-19 has restricted how festivals are celebrated, “We shall not allow it to dampen the spirit of this Durga Puja.”

Ms. Banerjee and other leaders of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), including president of the youth wing Abhishek Banerjee, took a pledge on the occasion of ‘Mahalaya Protishruti’ to serve the community by bringing the joys of the Puja to those who have had to battle the twin crises of COVID-19 and Amphan.

“As part of this pledge, I vow to ensure that this Durga Pujo, no one is devoid of the festivities. I urge everyone to come forward, extend a helping hand to those in need & spread joy everywhere. Shubho Mahalaya to everyone!” Ms. Banerjee said on social media.

The pledge which resonated among the entire party leadership is also a confirmation that the Puja celebrations will be held this year even as infections and deaths continue to surge.

Durga Pujas are not only a social and religious carnival but also an opportunity for political parties to connect with people. Most of the big budget pujas have senior Trinamool leaders as patrons. Mahalaya, which marks the beginning of the festival season, was observed during the day. The week-long festival is likely to begin from October 22 and a meeting with the club organisers will be held on September 25.

With the Assembly elections likely next year, no political party is willing to let go of the opportunity of connecting with the people during the festival. In the next few weeks, the State is likely to see a competition in the inauguration of Durga Pujas by the leaders of the TMC and the BJP.

The BJP went ahead with ‘tarpan’ on the second day. Party leaders Agnimitra Paul and Raju Bandopadhyay performed the ritual in Darjeeling and Bankura respectively for the workers killed in political violence. TMC leader and Minister Shyamal Santra held a similar event in south Bengal for the party leaders killed in political violence.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 4:09:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tmc-begins-durga-puja-preparations-with-mahalaya-pledge-of-serving-covid-19-affected/article32634434.ece

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