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Buddha plays priest grandson

Kultali (South 24-Parganas), Feb. 26: Communist chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee became purohit Krishna Chandra Bhattacharjee’s grandson for some time at the Nimpith Ramakrishna Ashram.

Taking time off from his whirlwind one-day tour of South 24-Parganas to spend some time at the ashram, Bhattacharjee — along with daughter Suchetana — took off his slippers to accompany a priest chanting shlokas to the Paramhansa’s statue.

After the silent folded-hand prayer, Bhattacharjee clarified his stand on religion and communism. “I may be a communist but I cannot forget that my grandfather, Krishna Chandra, wrote some religious texts and was a priest,” he said. “I believe in the religion of humanity.”

Bhattacharjee then went on an inauguration spree, throwing open the Nimpith Institute of Power Technology, the Nimpith Food-Processing Centre, a bridge (named after Swami Vivekananda) over river Nimania at Kultali, another bridge over river Petkulchand and a road at Kantamari. He then crossed a river to reach Kaikhali, where he inaugurated another tourist lodge.

Local SUCI MLA Probodh Purakait wasn’t impressed. “This (throwing open so many public utilities just before the panchayat polls) is just petty politicking,” he said.

The chief minister’s motorcade met with two mishaps during the day. In one, a car skidded off the road, landing an additional district magistrate (zilla parishad) in hospital.

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