Happy that Durga Puja and Muharram had passed off peacefully in her state, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said such a feat could not have been achieved in a state like Maharashtra if Ganapati Visarjan and Muharram were to coincide. She lauded the people of her state for maintaining peace and harmony despite the “conspiracies” hatched to create disturbance during Durga Puja and Muharram, which coincided this year. “What (West) Bengal can do, no one else can. I am sure had the Ganapati Visarjan and Muharram coincided, Maharashtra (which is under a BJP-led government) would not have been able to conduct them in a smooth manner,” she said.
She was speaking at a programme here to distribute the Biswa Bangla Sharad Samman for the organisers of the best community Durga Pujas. This year, Muharram and Durga Puja took place at the same time. “This happens every 25-30 years. For the last four-five years, the people of Bengal have been celebrating Durga Puja and observing Muharram around the same time,” she said. “This year, the celebrations were totally incident-free, for which I congratulate the puja committees and the people,” Banerjee said.
She said crores of people visited the puja pandals during the puja but there had not been any untoward incident. She thanked the people for maintaining peace and harmony. “We all follow some religion or the other, but we all celebrate festivals together. A lot of conspiracies were hatched, but to the credit of you all, no untoward incident happened during the festival,” she said as she urged the people to maintain peace in the state during the upcoming Kali Puja and Diwali too. Banerjee also asked them to be responsible while bursting firecrackers and follow fire safety norms. She said about 70 Durga Puja committees participated in this year’s grand immersion carnival at the Red Road in the city, which has attracted much attention from across the globe. Ten more pujas would attend it next year. “Crores of people watched it (the immersion carnival) across the world online. I have been flooded with congratulatory comments on social media,” she added.