Workers carry an idol of Goddess Durga for immersion in Kolkata (PTI)
On Bijoya Dashami, the end of Durga Puja, only a handful of pandal organisers across West Bengal turned up to immerse idols today when Muslims also observed Muharram. Though the Calcutta High Court had allowed Puja organisers to immerse idols today after overturning Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's diktat
, till Friday not a single Puja organiser had applied for police permission to immerse idols today.
And of over 25,000 Durga Puja set-ups across West Bengal, only a handful came out to immerse idols.
Most of the Durga Puja committees in the state are led by Trinamool Congress or TMC leaders and ministers. They were not going to immerse idols today and invite the wrath of their boss.
The Ekdalia Park Pujo, one of the most popular and crowded pujas in south Kolkata, has been minister Subrata Mukherjee's favourite for years.
Tridhara Sammelani, another must-see south Kolkata Puja, is organised by TMC councillor in the Kolkata Municipal Corporation Debashish Kumar. On why he didn't immerse idols today, Mr Kumar said, "On October 3, Mamata Banerjee is hosting the mega Kolkata Carnival where 40 of the city's top Durga idols will be taken down Red Road in a grand parade. Our idol is invited to participate in that. So no question of immersion till then."
An umbrella body of Puja organisers, called the Forum of Puja Organisers, had told all committees associated with it not to immerse idols today.
Not only does no one wanted to upset Ms Banerjee, there is also some ritualistic opposition to immersion on Ekadashi, or the day after Dashami, and many are using that as an excuse.
The Calcutta High Court last week overturned
the ban Ms Banerjee had announced on immersions on a day when Muharram is also observed.
Puja committees without political links and smaller ones are making no bones about toeing the line.
"Why get into all this controversy?" said Tinku Pal of Lake Terrace Dakshinee Sangha Puja. "We have a holiday on Monday. We will immerse on that day," she said.
Saptarshi Basu of Ballygunge Cultural Puja said they traditionally immersed on Dashami and would have done so this time too. "But we have been invited to the Kolkata Carnival, so we will immerse the idol after that, on October 3," Mr Basu said.
In the last few days of Durga Puja, the Kolkata traffic police had been regularly tweeting about road closure at many places due to religious processions.