Mamata Banerjee and Nusrat Jahan pulled the chariot of Lord Jagannath at the procession. Photograph:( WION )
At both the places – Kolkata and Hooghly, she reiterated the fact that religion is personal but festivals are universal.
The West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and newly elected MP from Basirhat, Nusrat Jahan attended the Rath Yatra celebrations at ISKCON in Kolkata on Thursday.
Like every year, Banerjee inaugurated the Rath Yatra by offering prayers to Lord Jagannath, Balaram and Goddess Subhadra. Later, Banerjee and Jahan, flanked by her husband Nikhil Jain pulled the chariot.
In the backdrop of the controversy where Jahan was seen sporting the vermillion and ‘chooda’ after her wedding while she took oath in the Lok Sabha, Jahan attended the inauguration despite her reception in the city falling on the same evening.
Jahan said, “Bengal has been an example where all religion come together. Whichever religion we belong, we always celebrate it together. It speaks of unity, it speaks of peace. So I’m very happy to be here.”
Later, Banerjee also attended the Rath Yatra celebrations at Mahesh temple in Sreerampore in Hooghly district.
At both the places – Kolkata and Hooghly, she reiterated the fact that religion is personal but festivals are universal. She wished for the victory of humanism and communal harmony over divisive forces.
Banerjee while inaugurating the Rath Yatra at Mahesh said, “This is the first time I have come to Mahesh’s temple for Rath Yatra. In the morning, I went to ISKCON for the Rath Yatra inauguration. After Puri, Mahesh’s Rath Yatra is most important.”
She further added that the area in and around the temple will be developed. “We are going to develop this area around Mahesh temple. We will set up guest houses too. People can smoothly come and pray to God. The govt has already sanctioned 10 crore, and we have decided to sanction 15 crores more. We have developed Tarakeshwar temple authority too. We have set up a skywalk at Dakshineswar temple, now we are going to set up a skywalk at Kalighat temple too.”