State to mark 'Khela Hobe Diwas' on Aug 16 every yr
KOLKATA: In her Martyrs' Day speech, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee took the party's catchy 'Khela Hobe' slogan—that resonated with the people of Bengal and overpowered BJP's 'venomous' rhetoric during the campaigns for the last state Assembly polls—to the national stage of politics. While giving a clarion call to all Opposition parties in the country to put up a united fight against the BJP—with an eye on 2024 general elections—Banerjee on Wednesday said the 'Khela' or game will now happen in all states till the saffron party is ousted from the country.
The state's ruling party chairperson also announced that August 16 would be observed as 'Khela Hobe Diwas' every year in the state. "Khela Hobe (the game is on!)…One game has been played (referring to the Bengal polls). Till BJP is ousted from the country, the game will be on in different states and in each booth. And, in West Bengal, we will observe August 16 as Khela Dibas. We will give footballs to poor kids in the villages to play on this day. Without sports, life never evolves. Sports is part of our culture and humanity," Banerjee said, adding that the BJP party is a high-loaded 'virus' party. Banerjee had earlier announced at the state Assembly that Khela Hobe Diwas (Day) would be observed in Bengal when around 50,000 footballs would be distributed. On Wednesday, she announced the date of the 'Khela Hobe' Diwas.
"I express my gratitude to the people mainly the mothers and sisters who had extended their full support to us. The khela hobe (game is on) slogan was appreciated by the people during the election campaign," Banerjee said.
Banerjee made the "khela hobe" slogan popular during the Assembly elections in which Trinamool Congress had a landslide victory with a win in 213 seats. A song was even composed based on the "khela hobe" slogan and played at every poll rallies.
Even, the slogan has been adopted by the Samajwadi Party (SP) workers making its Bhojpuri version - "Khela Hoi" - popular in Uttar Pradesh.
Again, it was on 16 August in 1980 when 16 spectators died in a stampede at Eden Gardens. The trouble ensued after referee showed red card to Mohun Bagan's defender Dilip Palit. Wordy duel ensued between supporters of the city's two football giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. The police resorted to lathicharge in the gallery to bring the situation under control, the spectators started running helter-skelter resulting in stampede of 16 people.
In this connection, BJP's Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta tweeted: "Interesting @MamataOfficial has declared August 16 as "Khela hobe divas". It is the day the Muslim League launched its Direct Action Day & began the Great Calcutta Killings in 1946. In today's West Bengal, "Khela Hobe" has come to symbolise a wave of terror attacks on opponents."