Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Saturday felicitated 51 priests in Kolkata’s Salt Lake area. The public event, which was held just 500 metres away from where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is organising its Durga Pujo, took a nasty political turn later.

The event to complement the priests, the saffron camp alleged, was organised by the ruling party to “shed their characteristic of appeasing to a certain religion”. TMC, on the other hand, said the event was devoid of any king of politics.

Co-ordinator in ward 38 of Bidhannagar Municipality Nirmal Dutta said that it was a proud moment for him as a Hindu to see the Brahmins being felicitated by his party.

Attacking TMC for mixing religion with politics, BJP’s newly-elected national vice-president Mukul Roy said that Mamata Banerjee’s party was desperately trying to erase its identity as appeaser of a particular community, reported ABP Ananda.

Paying no heed to Roy’s statement, Sujit Bose, the chief gues of Saturday’s event, said that the event was apolitical and accused BJP of doing communal politics.

Bidhannagar MLA and West Bengal’s Fire and Emergency Minister further claimed that TMC’s fete was only meant to help a few poor priests.

Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had last month announced a monthly allowance of Rs 1,000 and free housing for around 8,000 poor Brahmin priests of the state.

“We had earlier provided land to the Sanatan Brahmin sect to set up an academy at Kolaghat. Many priests in this sect are financially weak. We have decided to help them by providing them with an allowance of Rs 1,000 per month and also free housing under the state government’s Banglar Awas Yojana,” the CM had said at a Press Conference in Nabanna while announcing the initiative.

BJP, which has time and again attacked the Mamata Banerjee administration appeasing the Muslim community, had sensed a political foul play in the move. It alleged that TMC was trying to use the Brahmins as its vote bank for the upcoming Assembly Elections next year.

In another big development related to the Brahmins, 187 priests joined the ruling TMC camp on Saturday. TMC’s youth secretary in Jalpaiguri informed that the priests were formerly with Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).