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Didi Plays The Hindu Card, Hikes Grant To Durga Pandals And Puts Lid On Inner Party Rumblings

For this year’s Durga Puja, the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has decided to increase the grant to 40,000-plus Durga pandals from Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 each which will cost the State exchequer Rs 240 crore. This grant, part of Didi’s vote bank politics, was started in 2018 and continues to draw flaks from the Opposition. It also finds no favour from her own party men as they feel the imagery propagates Hinduism which will benefit the BJP. Is this hike in grant Mamata’s desperate attempt to rebuild a clean image of her party? Isn’t this a big risk when time and again Didi has been stating that the state’s financial health is not at its best as a result of which the government employees disbursements have been stalled, new recruitments postponed and crucial repair of embankments in riverine Bengal put on hold? Analysts feel that this could be seen as the deflection of attention from the rumbles of unrest between the party’s old guard and emerging younger leadership. Adding further analysts explain Mamata’s pujas extravaganza is to blunt the allegations of the BJP about her alleged indifference to the sentiments of the majority community. Even her recent rally to thank UNESCO for the “Heritage” tag for Durga Puja is another clear attempt to divert political instability within the party.