Mamata lashes out at rivals for questioning holding of festivals

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday hit out at her detractors for questioning the state government’s initative to celebrate festivals, including the gala Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) which began here during the day.

“Many people raise questions about (us) organising festivals. Why won’t we hold the festival’ Why won’t we celebrate Durga puja’ We will do everything. 13 festivals in 12 months is our culture. Life cannot be lived if one waves flags and says ‘Zindabad’. One has to keep calm. One has to live with everyone. Those who are envious… let them be,” Banerjee said at the inaugural of the 23rd edition of KIFF.

Her comments came hours after her former lieutenant Mukul Roy, who has crossed over to the BJP, criticised the Trinamool Congress supremo over inaugurating the festival at a time when the state is in the grip of dengue.

“Ten years back, when people were being killed in Nandigram and Singur, (then Chief Minister) Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was busy inaugurating a film festival. And today when people are dying from dengue, Banerjee is busy inaugurating film festival,” said Roy in his address at a rally here, his first after joining the BJP.

Banerjee also excused herself for not being able to attend the week-long festival in its entirety due to her forthcoming London visit.

She will officiate as the chief guest at a programme in Sister Nivedita’s family home in Wimbledon on November 12. She will unveil a Blue Plaque at the family home.

“Why should anyone object if Bengal is going global ‘ One must not be small minded for politics,” she added.

KIFF runs till November 17.