West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh on Wednesday accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of trying to divide the people of the state on religious lines by giving out doles during festivals to secure its vote bank.
Reacting to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's announcement to give Rs 10,000 each to 28,000 Durga puja committees in the state, he told reporters in Kolkata that the TMC government had earlier disbursed funds to Imams.
When it faced the "anger of the Hindus" it decided to give funds to Durga Puja committees, Mr Ghosh claimed.
"From the very beginning, the TMC government has been trying to divide the people of the state on religious lines in order to secure its vote bank," he said.
"The Hindus don't need doles from the TMC to celebrate Durga Puja... If the state government is so concerned about the Hindus celebrating Durga Puja then why didn't it give doles the previous years?" Mr Ghosh asked.
He claimed that in the last two years, the state government "tried to stop" Durga idol immersion on Vijayadashami as the dates clashed with Muharram.
The state government had last year imposed restrictions on Durga idol immersion on Vijaydashami after 10 pm and had said no immersion would be allowed on October 1, the day Muharram was scheduled to be observed.
"Where was the concern for Durga Puja then? Now as the Hindus are uniting, the TMC is afraid that it will face their backlash," Ghosh said.
On September 10, Ms Banerjee had declared that Rs 10,000 would be given to each of the 28,000 puja committees across West Bengal - 3,000 in the state capital and 25,000 in the districts, which will cost the exchequer Rs 28 crore.
The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday refused to interfere in the state government's decision to give doles to the Durga puja committees, and vacated an interim stay granted by it on disbursal of the funds.
Disposing off a public interest litigation, it said the legislature is the appropriate forum to decide on such expenditure.
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