The chief minister at the Bosepukur Sitala Mandir pandal on Wednesday. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta
Mamata Banerjee had a busy evening on Wednesday but the “workaholic” chief minister left Writers’ three hours earlier than usual.
Mamata spent a large part of the evening pandal-hopping in south Calcutta.
“Durga Puja has started early this year. Earlier, inaugurations were scheduled for Chaturthi but it has started from the second day this year,” she said while inaugurating the 95 Pally puja at Jodhpur Park.
A source in the chief minister’s office said more than 120 organisations wanted the her to inaugurate their pujas, but she picked only some of them, mostly depending on who the chief patrons were.
Her inauguration spree is likely to continue till Panchami (Friday). On Wednesday, she visited 15 pujas — all in a matter of five hours.
A Metro report on some pujas Mamata inaugurated on Wednesday evening.
Why: Fire minister Javed Ahmed Khan is the chief patron.
Seen and heard: After a brief speech, Mamata went to the mandap and offered flowers to the idol, lit a diya and sought the goddess’s blessings. Before stepping into the mandap, she had left her slippers outside. As soon as word spread that she had arrived, there was a rush of people and the slippers had to be “rescued” by security officers.
Bosepukur Sitala Mandir
Mamata agreed to the organisers’ request after a decade’s gap.
Seen and heard: The organisers donated a cheque for Rs 51,000 to the chief minister’s relief fund. “Thank you,” the chief minister said.
66 Pally (Kalighat)
Why: The main organiser is a close aide of transport minister Madan Mitra. Also, Mamata never skips this puja as it is almost in her backyard.
Seen and heard: The chief minister lit a diya and waved to the crowd.
“I heard Mamata didi was coming here and came straight to the pandal,” said college student Sreyoshi Ghosh.
“I have been coming here for 10 years without fail. I have an emotional connect with this place,” said a beaming Mamata.
Chetla Agrani Club
Why: Urban development minister Firhad Hakim is the chief patron.
Seen and heard: After the inauguration, Mamata took two steps back to admire the dazzling decor and the idol. “This puja is close to my heart. I always end pandal-hopping with Chetla Agrani. I enjoy the adda here,” she said.