Mamata Banerjee today said "people make mistakes but they can be rectified", in comments linked by many to the controversy over her party MP Mahua Moitra's comments on Goddess Kali.
"We make mistakes while working but they can be rectified. Some people don't see all the good work and suddenly start shouting... Negativity affects our brain cells so let's think positively," the West Bengal Chief Minister said at an event in Kolkata.
Mahua Moitra is facing multiple FIRs for her comments on Goddess Kali at a media event. She had been asked to react to the outrage over a film poster shared by filmmaker Leena Manimekalai featuring the Goddess smoking.
The MP had said she had every right as an individual to imagine Goddess Kali as a "meat-eating and alcohol-accepting goddess" as every person has the right to worship God in their own way.
"If you go to Bhutan or Sikkim, for example, when they do puja, they give whisky to their god. Now, if you go to Uttar Pradesh and say that you give whisky to your god as prasad, they will say that is blasphemous," she said.
"For me, Goddess Kali is a meat-eating and alcohol-accepting goddess. And if you go to Tarapith (a major Shakti peeth in West Bengal's Birbhum district), you will see sadhus smoking. That is the version of Kali people worship (there). I, within Hinduism, being a Kali worshipper, have the right to imagine Kali in that way; that is my freedom," said Ms Moitra.
"I have the freedom to do it (envision a meat-eating goddess) as much as you have the freedom to worship your god as vegetarian and white-clothed."
The Trinamool has distanced itself from the comments and even condemned them.
"The comments made by @MahuaMoitra at the #IndiaTodayConclaveEast2022 and her views expressed on Goddess Kali have been made in her personal capacity and are NOT ENDORSED BY THE PARTY in ANY MANNER OR FORM. All India Trinamool Congress strongly condemns such comments," the party tweeted.
The BJP has said she should be arrested. An FIR has been filed in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh, accusing her of hurting religious sentiments, and more leaders have threatened to file cases.
"I do not want to live in an India where BJP's monolithic patriarchal Brahminical view of Hinduism will prevail and the rest of us will tiptoe around religion. I will defend this till I die. File your FIRs - will see you in every court in the land," Mahua Moitra tweeted.
"I challenge the BJP anywhere in the country to prove anything that I said is wrong," she said.