Union Minister of State for Culture Meenakshi Lekhi took a potshot at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday for taking the credit for the inclusion of Durga Puja in the UNESCO’s list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. She called it “horrendous” that the state government that had “banned” Durga Puja and idol immersion is taking credit for the global acclaim of the festival.
Addressing a press conference here, the minister said the Ministry of Culture has also sent a proposal to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to include the Garba dance from Gujarat in its list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
Earlier this month, Banerjee had led a rally celebrating the inclusion of ‘Durga Puja in Kolkata’ in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list.
“The West Bengal chief minister must be very busy and the advice she is receiving from her advisors is questionable,” Lekhi said.
She said the proposal to include Durga Puja in UNESCO’s list was, in fact, sent by her ministry in 2019 which was accepted in December 2021.
The MoS added that it was a matter of pride for the entire India that Durga Puja was inscribed in UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage and “politics on it was improper”.
“It is horrendous that a state government that banned Durga Puja and idol immersion was taking credit for this feat,” she said.
She noted that all the traditions of the country should be appreciated in one voice, adding that Durga Puja was as much important in southern and western India as it was in eastern India.
Lekhi will visit Kolkata on October 24 to felicitate 30 artisans and artists, including ‘dhakis’, idol makers, pandal makers and others associated with the Durga Puja festival.