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Mamata’s ministers get their act ready for big ‘theme’ pujas

One of the toppers is surely the Naktala Udayan Sangha Puja, famous for its mentor, the industries minister in Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet, Partha Chatterjee. The theme this year is ‘Pathare Pran’ – or life breathed into a stone – with the idol being carved from a single piece of sandstone brought all the way from Bikaner, Rajasthan. ‘The sculpted, monolithic goddess is 15 feet tall and the pandal in which it is housed is made of bricks. The light and shade effect has been created by Dinesh Poddar’, said Anjan Das, joint secretary of the club.

Das also says how Chatterjee, a management student, has been involved with the nitty-gritties of the puja right from the beginning. The famous music composer and singer Rashid Khan is also actively involved with this puja and has composed the theme song. ‘The budget this time hovers around Rs 30 lakh. But we have planned multifarious activities. We have already donated clothes to 500 poor residents of the area and have also contributed Rs one lakh and Rs 50,000 to the chief minister’s and the Governor’s relief fund’, explained Das.

Another big ticket puja is the New Alipore Suruchi Sangha, blessed by Aroop Biswas, another minister in Mamata’s cabinet. The theme this time around: A celebration of all things Bengali. The main pandal of this award-winning puja is dominated by the figure of the mother earth, sitting amidst her creations, both human and animal. ‘At least 10 scenes from rural Bengal have been depicted in and around the main pandal, ranging from shola work to patachitra to agro-based industries like tea and betel leaf cultivation.  Different facets of Bengali culture – including the symbolic maach, boats and kaashphool – are also on display’, says Ahana Bhattacharjee, member of the theme committee of this puja.

The budget for this club puja is Rs 25 lakh and the structures have been carefully crafted by Subrata Banerjee and Raja Sarkar. Another USP here will be live performances of the Bhawai dance on the premises – now almost an extinct form of dance in the state.

Another puja which has won accolades in recent years is being organised by the Chetla Agrani Club and mentored by Firhad Hakim, the state’s minister for urban development. The main structure is a huge pillar – 75 feet tall with a chariot embedded in it. ‘The whole concept is to show the link between the devotee and the Gods. The devotee is always trying to reach out to the Gods’, says Samir Ghosh, one of the organisers.

The Goddess has been depicted as a dancing deity, happy after destroying the asura. The theme has been created by Bhabatosh Sutar and the budget is somewhere between Rs 35 to Rs 40 lakh.

Last but not the least, senior Cabinet minister Subrata Mukherjee’s popular puja, Ekdalia Evergreen, has depicted  a 100-feet tall South Indian temple this time around but is not a replica of any particular temple. The deity is traditional and has been crafted by Sanatan Rudra Pal.
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