Trinamool felicitates 8,000 Hindu priests in bid to counter saffron surge | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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Trinamool felicitates 8,000 Hindu priests in bid to counter saffron surge

Two Trinamool ministers also attended the conference which was described by opposition leaders as a “crisis management” ahead of the panchayat elections

kolkata Updated: Jan 09, 2018 11:59 IST
Koushik Dutta
Hindu priests at the one-day conference held by Trinamool Congress in Bolpur town on Monday.
Hindu priests at the one-day conference held by Trinamool Congress in Bolpur town on Monday. (HT Photo)

The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Monday felicitated more than 8,000 Hindu priests at a gathering, in an apparent bid to counter the BJP’s growing influence in West Bengal.

Two TMC ministers, Asish Banerjee and Chandranath Sinha, also attended the conference, which was described by opposition leaders as a “crisis management” ahead of the panchayat elections.

The state’s ruling party, however, maintained that the conference was part of its continuous process to communicate with the masses and there were no political connotations to it. But while addressing the gathering, TMC’s district chief Anubrata Mondal, who is known for making controversial remarks, did not shy away from taking a veiled dig at the BJP.

“I will not take lessons in Hindutva from assassins. The Durga puja held at my residence is 400 years old. There are four temples of Shiva in my home. If I need to learn anything about Hindutva I will take lessons from you,” Mondal told the priests. “You are the real Hindus. If I have said anything wrong please forgive me,” he added.

TMC does not appear to be the only party that is trying to check the saffron surge in the state. Milton Rashid, the Congress MLA from Hassan, recently organised a rally at Tarapith demanding honorarium for Hindu priests. He said Hindu priests perform pujas regularly but don’t get two square meals a day. He demanded monthly allowance for them since the same is offered to Muslim clergies by Wakf committees.