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CM makes a cultural trip
- Buddha hops from CU canteen to book fair, via jatra fest

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee revisited memories and matters closest to his heart on Friday evening, hopping from his favourite university canteen to a jatra festival and finally, flagging off a book fair.

The first stop was Rakhalda’s canteen on Calcutta University’s College Street campus, where Bhattacharjee had gone to attend a condolence meeting for Rakhalda, an icon himself on the historic campus.

Amader shokoler priyo chhilen Rakhalda, (Rakhalda was everybody’s favourite),” he recounted about the smiling man behind the canteen counter. “I came to know him as a student and I was in touch with him even after leaving the university,” added Bhattacharjee.

The chief minister then hurried to Jatra Mancha, adjacent to Girish Mancha, where he inaugurated the 12th annual Jatra Utsab, which will run for 24 days, featuring as many groups.

When the organisers of the festival complained to the chief minister about the losses they are forced to suffer because of the whimsical nature of film stars, who cancel shows at the drop of a hat, he pleaded helplessness.

“I really don’t know how to tackle this issue,” he said, adding that he had never failed in his commitments on appearances at public programmes.

Though it was a programme to celebrate the cultural roots of Bengal, Bhattacharjee did not forget to give a few marketing tips to the organisers. “Please pay more attention to advertising and event promotion to draw more crowds,” said the chief minister, stressing the need to create a distinct brand identity for jatra.

He also promised government support to create better infrastructure — auditoriums, support for actors, training facilities and a library — for the jatra world. Bhattacharjee signed off the evening by inaugurating the Sutanuti Book Fair at Girish Mancha in his signature style — by reciting a poem.

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