KOLKATA: The BJP’s attempt to bring its star MPs during Durga Puja for gaining political mileage turned futile after the puja organisers, who wanted them in their pandals, went cold apparently due to pressure from the TMC.
The saffron camp had planned to take ‘control’ of some of the Durga Pujas in Kolkata to challenge the TMC’s hegemony in organising Bengal’s biggest festival. Many organisers were keen on getting Gautam Gambhir due to his connection with IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), and actor Sunny Deol.
But, at least 40 puja organisers changed their decisions to rope in BJP stars at the last moment.
Even Union home minister and BJP chief Amit Shah, who was scheduled to inaugurate four puja pandals on October 1, returned Delhi after visiting one pandal in Salt Lake.
Though the BJP’s state leaders and MPs inaugurated a few small-budget pujas in Kolkata, none of the big-ticket organisers finally dared to add saffron flavour in their pujas.
“In districts, our leaders inaugurated more than 200 pujas. But in Kolkata, the organisers who were interested to invite us changed their decision at the last moment. It is because of pressure by the ruling party,’’ claimed BJP’s state president Dilip Ghosh.
According to BJP sources, the party could not match the TMC in Kolkata because of its poor organisational strength compared to other parts of Bengal.
“The ruling party has been controlling the festival ever since it came to power in 2011,” said a BJP insider.