Union minister Meenakshi Lekhi on Tuesday expressed regret over West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee “not praising” the Centre’s initiative in facilitating the UNESCO heritage tag for Durga Puja, the state’s biggest festival.
Lekhi, who was talking to reporters after visiting the Santosh Mitra Square Puja pandal here, said the UNESCO distinction was possible due to the concerted effort of different central government departments and other stakeholders, but Banerjee chose to “overlook” the contribution of some of them.
"Though it is the honour and pride that matters most, it would have been in the fitness of things if she (Banerjee) had acknowledged the efforts of the Ministry of External Affairs and the Union Ministry of Culture," Lekhi said.
"Even acknowledging the PM’s effort in one line would have sufficed. But, she did not," said Lekhi, the Union Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture.
She also took a jibe at the Trinamool Congress chief’s decision to provide Rs 60,000 as a grant to each registered puja committee.
"I salute the people of Kolkata for participating in the Durga Puja festival with great enthusiasm despite having witnessed such politics of murder and violence. They are creating such a beautiful ambience of aestheticism, celebrating our culture and keeping our heritage alive," she said.
Lekhi was alluding to the allegations of post-poll violence levelled by the BJP against the ruling TMC.
Earlier in the evening, the minister visited the Kumartuli Park Sarbojonin and said she was happy to be present at one of the oldest puja pandals of Kolkata.
(Inputs from PTI)