Ministers vie for puja ‘trophy’ but won’t speak of money spent
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For over the past one and half years, they have been trying their best to get a pat from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for their work as ministers at the Writers' Buildings. Come Durga puja, they are trying their best to beat their colleagues by bringing as many people as possible to their respective puja pandals and impress Didi, the Chief Minister.
The Trinamool Congress ministers are doing everything — from banking on innovative ideas to using their personal rapport — to ensure huge footfall to their puja pandals in the next four days.
Interestingly, most of the ministers don't know how many community puja committees have designated them as their "president" or "adviser". While most of the glamorous puja committees falling under the ministers' Assembly segments have either made them as "president" or "adviser", in many cases even the ministers' consent has not been sought before designating them with posts.
Youth Affairs Minister Arup Biswas is one of them who does not know how many puja committees he is "heading" this year. "I can only say the number is huge. I am either president or adviser to most puja committees in my constituency," replies Biswas when asked about the number of pujas he has been "organising" this year.
However, when it comes to disclosing the actual budget of their pujas, Biswas like all other ministers, whom we asked, prefer to keep mum. Perhaps disclosing the actual budget figure could raise uncomfortable questions about the source of funding, thereby giving their detractors a perfect opportunity to corner them.
"No one should ask the age of a woman and the budget for a puja," Biswas replies with a smile when asked about the budget of his own club — Suruchi Sangha — that organises the puja. His followers have almost completed sending invitation cards to people. "Come to my puja pandal. We have made sea pollution as the theme of our puja this year.
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