Illambazar (Birbhum): Artistes and common people need to join hands to resist attempts to divide society, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in a public meeting in Birbhum on Thursday.
"We will not allow division between Hindus and Muslims. Nor I will allow division between the poor and rich. I strongly believe that artistes do not have any caste or religion. So they and the masses have to join hands and resist divisive forces," she remarked at the inauguration of annual Kenduli fair at Bolpur.
Music spreads religious and communal harmony and songs are more effective than long speeches, she added.
Addressing a huge gathering here, she said: "Those who do not listen to music are not human beings. Music takes us to a different level and purifies our soul. It speaks about religious and communal harmony."
She urged the musicians to collaborate with people and take part in building up the society. She instructed the Information and Cultural Affairs department to host programmes of Lok Prashar Shilpis comprising folk artistes, making their participation in government functions compulsory.
It may be recalled that after coming to power in 2011, Mamata Banerjee took the initiative to pay Rs 1,000 stipend to nearly 2 lakh folk artistes and they are getting regular programmes in government functions and fairs. As a result, many of them who had joined other vocations have come back to the original fold.
Without naming the RSS, she said it has become a fashion these days to wear saffron attire. "But one has to acquire competence to wear saffron. The Bauls can wear it as they have attained that level of competence. It is a pure colour and does not match everybody."
The Chief Minister slammed the BJP-led Central government for allegedly excluding the state's tableau from the Republic Day parade which was based on the theme of unity.
Stating that Bengal believes in togetherness of all faiths, she alleged that the BJP is dividing the people on the basis of religion.
"This year the proposed theme for our Republic Day tableau was unity. I think that is why we have been left out," she said.
Banerjee maintained that she will unveil the state emblem on Friday.
Coming down heavily on the Centre, she said: "We have to pay Rs 40,000 crore as loan repayment. It is the CPI(M)'s fault and we have to pay a heavy price for it. In 2018, we have to pay Rs 48,000 crore to the Centre. I have requested them to waive it off but they just refused to listen."
Without naming the BJP, she said: "Some goondas are coming and addressing people in different areas. We are not going to listen to them."
She urged the masses not to believe in the speeches made by such leaders. "They have come to do harm to you. Be vigilant," she said. She reiterated that the state government will not take up any project that will affect the interests of common people. "You can trust me. I will not take up any project that will harm my people," said Banerjee.