Festivities may be round the corner in the state of West Bengal but already high political tensions may well reach a crescendo in the weeks to come with Trinamool Congress all set to sit on a dharna against Centre's decision to have Durga Puja committees under the purview of the Income Tax department.
Vehemently opposed to the idea of these committees being under the IT lense, TMC chief and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee has repeatedly taken potshots at the Narendra Modi government. "If Durga Puja Committees do puja, it should not come under Income Tax. This is donation given by public. I condemn this attitude of bringing puja committees under Income Tax," she had said in July. Now, she is ready to spearhead a more direct protest. The TMC Banga Janani Wing will sit on dharna on Tuesday at Subodh Mallik Square from 10 am till 6 pm. The crux of the demand is to free Durga Puja committees from the purview of IT department.
Preparations for the festival have already begun with Durga Puja scheduled to start from early October. Massive pandals are just some of the highlights of the festivities with locals coming out in large numbers across the state and elsewhere. Mamata has said that her government pays an honorarium of Rs 10,000 to each committee but to ask these committees to file returns on their expenses during the festival is 'harassment.' She had also previously told committees to ignore the IT department.
Accused often of indulging in vote-bank politics, Mamata has been slammed for turning this into a religion-based argument.