Mamata Banerjee also attacked the Centre for banishing Christmas from the list of national holidays
Flagging off Christmas celebrations in Kolkata today, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the Centre must restore Christmas as a national holiday and accused it of keeping Bengal out of Republic Day parade because Bengal's proposed theme for the state's tableaux was communal harmony.
"We got first prize twice for our tableaux - on Chau dancers of Purulia and on Baul singers of Bengal," Ms Banerjee said at Allen Park on Park Street this evening. "But politics has crept in even into this and when we proposed Kanyashree as a theme, we were not allowed," she added.
Kanyashree is a government scheme to give girls money annually as long as they keep going to school. It has earned Ms Banerjee praise and an award from the UN recently.
"This year, our proposed them was 'communal harmony', our officials went to two meetings, agreed to all suggestions but then we haven't got called to any more meetings," Ms Banerjee said.
At the Christmas event attended by several archbishops, priests and nuns, Ms Banerjee attacked the Narendra Modi government for banishing Christmas from the list of national holidays. Christmas was declared "good governance day" by the Centre in 2014.
"If any community is hurt, I am hurt," Ms Banerjee said. "Why is 25 December not a holiday? What was the logic of the decision? If there is logic, I am willing to listen. If there is none, then I have to suspect some motive," she added.
"If someone tells me, no holiday for Durga Puja, will I agree?" she said.
BJP state chief Dilip Ghosh, reacting to the comments on the Republic Day parade, said, "In Bengal, there is politics in everything from the moment of your birth till death... so I am not surprised that Ms Banerjee is bring politics even into the Republic Day parade."