Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, PM Narendra Modi is all set to inaugurate Durga Puja pandals in Kolkata via video conferencing today as the five-day celebrations begin in the state.
Massive and elaborate arrangements have been made by the BJP for the live-viewing of PM Modi’s virtual address by the people. TV screens have been set up in all the 78,000 election booth areas across the state.
The prime minister will virtually inaugurate a pandal that BJP has set up in Salt Lake in Kolkata at a cultural center run by the Cultural Ministry of the central government.
Last evening, the PM tweeted about joining the festivities on Thursday. Several celebrities are going to perform ahead of the inauguration, including Dona Ganguly, wife of BCCI chief and former India captain Sourav Ganguly.
Today is Maha Shashti, the first of five days of worship of Goddess Durga.
Durga Puja is intrinsic to Bengali society and it is widely celebrated across the state. For the BJP it is a huge opportunity to reach out to the public. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has inaugurated 200 pujas virtually and over a dozen in-person in Kolkata city.
The BJP is looking forward to capitalizing on this occasion, and political analysts are already reading between the lines about the PM’s participation in Bengal’s biggest festival ahead of the assembly elections.
“He has been prime minister for many years. Why is he addressing Bengal for the first time in this year’s Durga Pujas? Is it because elections are around the corner,” a Trinamool Congress leader said.
On the other hand, the BJP also alleges harassment by Trinamool Congress party workers in the state. Last year, when Amit Shah came to inaugurate a Durga Puja at BJ block in Salt Lake, the host puja committee members were harassed and threatened by ‘Trinamool goons’, said the BJP.