A Durga Puja organised by the West Bengal BJP will have a non-Brahmin woman priest officiating over it as the saffron party wants to project that its puja is “different” than numerous others in Kolkata.
The BJP is organising its own Durga Puja for the third time this year and sources in the party said this will be a different take on celebrating the goddess. This year, Durga Puja also became the first Indian festival to be recognised as an “intangible cultural heritage of humanity” by UNESCO.
According to sources, a female priest will show that the BJP promotes women empowerment while her non-Brahmin image will help the party project it is against caste-based discrimination. The priest, Sulatha Mondal, will come all the way from North Bengal to conduct the BJP-organised Durga Puja in Kolkata. She will reach the state capital on September 26 and start preparations for the puja, which begins on October 1.
Speaking to News18, a senior BJP leader said, “Festival does not have caste, it is for all. The woman who will conduct the puja has been associated with it for a long time. She is sincere and we are happy that she will conduct our puja.”
Mondal was a student of West Bengal BJP chief Sukanta Majumdar in University of Gour Banga. The party had earlier decided to conduct Durga Puja for three years and, for its last puja, wanted to do it in a different manner.
Majumdar tweeted: “Matrirupeno Sangasthitha, this year Maa will be worshipped by a woman from South Dinajpur, Sulatha Mondal.”
The state BJP is also making all effort to bring union home minister Amit Shah for this year’s Durga Puja. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the BJP’s puja in its first year.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee inaugurates all of Kolkata’s major Durga Pujas. But, the BJP also wants to have its hold over the festivities for its mass connect and is promoting a social message in this year’s puja, said party insiders.
The BJP has also brought in actor-turned-politician Mithun Chakraborty, who will reach out and attend prak pujo sammelanis in different districts of the state.