KOLKATA

Mamata ‘idol’ to share space with Durga in Kolkata pandal

Mamata ‘idol’ to share space with Durga in Kolkata pandal, the vie

The ten hands of the deity, instead of holding weapons, will depict Ms. Banerjee’s projects: Kanyashree, Swastha Sathi, Rupashree, Sabujsathi and Lakshmir Bhandar among others.

A controversy has erupted in West Bengal over the organisers of a Durga puja deciding to put up an idol of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at their marquee puja pandal alongside Goddess Durga’s, provoking angry reactions from the opposition BJP which called the move “nauseating” and one that hurt the sensibilities of Hindus of the state.

Famous clay modeller Mintu Pal is sculpting the fibreglass idol at his Kumartuli studio draping the “deity” in the TMC supremo’s favourite white coloured tant saree and her trademark flip-flop slippers to boot.

“I have studied photos and videos of honorable CM as reference point. The way she walks, speaks, interacts with the public, while moulding the face of the idol,” said Mr. Pal on Friday.

The ten hands of the deity, instead of holding weapons, will depict Ms. Banerjee’s projects: Kanyashree, Swastha Sathi, Rupashree, Sabujsathi and Lakshmir Bhandar among others. The organisers, he said, want to tell people about the various universally acclaimed development projects launched by her government.

However, the BJP was not amused. “This deification of Mamata Banerjee, who has 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,” said the party’s IT department head, Amit Malviya, on Twitter.

Ms. Banerjee’s Nandigram rival Suvendu Adhikari also saw red. “When someone tries to elevate you to God’s stature only to please you & your silence indicates consent, it means your ego has reached a point where conscience can’t hold it accountable,” he wrote on the microblogging website.

Next to the fibreglass idol, a clay image of Durga and her progeny would be kept for worship.

“The entire pandal will be themed on Lakshmir Bhandar,” an organiser of the puja by the Unnayan Samithi Club at Keshtopur in the northern part of city said. Lakshmir Bhandar was an income support scheme launched by the government, under which the female heads of a household would get an assistance of ₹500-1,000 a month.

The Bhawanipore 75 Pally puja committee has adopted the “Ghorer Meye” (daughter of the house) theme this year to toast Ms. Banerjee’s return to power for a third successive term, committee official Subrata Das said.

“Ms. Banerjee is the Ghorer Meye of Bhawanipore. Many hoardings hailing her as Bhawanipore’s daughter have come up here in the last two months,” he said.

Ms. Banerjee lives in her private house at Bhawanipore and represented the constituency in the past. After her defeat in Nandigram, the fiery leader would likely contest from Bhawanipore once again.

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