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Mamata prays for peace as Bengal goes to polls

Mamata prays for peace as Bengal goes to polls
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Kolkata/ Puri: A puja was held at the residence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kalighat in south Kolkata on Friday as the schedule for the assembly elections in West Bengal was announced.

Abhishek Banerjee, the nephew of the chief minister, performed the rituals, which were led by Jagannath Swain Mohapatra of the Lord Jagannath temple in Puri.

Mohapatra is Lord Jaganath's 'badagrahi' or bodyguard when the deity is brought out of the temple on Ratha Jatra or Snan Jatra.

A group of priests from Puri travelled to Kolkata for the puja.

The chief minister also took part in the rituals as the priests performed a yagna.

"I have been performing puja at the chief minister's residence for long. It is an annual ritual at her home," Mohapatra said.

"Mamata Banerjee prayed for peace in Bengal during the elections. I have blessed her -- 'Vijaya Bhaba', meaining be victorious. The lord will bless her in life and also in the elections," he added.

Mohapatra said it was auspicious that the poll dates were announced just on the day the puja was held.

The Trinamool Congress chief and her family are known to be devout worshippers of Lord Jagannath.

Lakhs of Bengalis travel to Puri in Odisha every year for visiting the Lord Jagannath temple.

Elections for the West Bengal assembly will be held in eight phases, beginning with polling for 30 seats on March 27.

Votes will be counted on May 2.

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