Brushing aside former close aide Mukul Roy's jibe on inaugurating film festival at a time when people in the state are dying of dengue, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today wondered why such questions are being raised as festivals are integral to Bengal.
Addressing the inauguration programme of the 23rd Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) here, Banerjee was responding to charges made by Mukul Roy without naming him and said one should not harbour narrow-mindedness to suit one's political designs.
"One cannot dream about spending his entire life by shouting 'Zindabad' and raise party flag for 24 hours in a day. Life means living with your culture, people of your country and their traditions," Banerjee said.
Wondeing why questions should be raised about the hosting of film festivals, or the Durga Puja carnival, Banerjee said, "some people ask why we are holding film festivals. Why we should not?"
"Why we should not celebrate Durga puja, Kali puja. Why we can't celebrate art and culture festivals like 'Jatra Utsab' and 'Natok Utsav.' We will observe each and every festival as there are 13 festivals in a span of 12 months in Bengal which is known in Bengali as 'Baro Mase Tero Parbon.'
Speaking about Biswa Bangla initiative by the West Bengal government, Banerjee said, "If Bengal reaches out to the world and if the world comes to Bengal, why should it be objected by anyone. One should broaden his vision and not be bogged down by narrow thoughts," she said.
Earlier in the day, Roy said addressing his first rally after joining the BJP, "...when people are dying from dengue, Mamata Banerjee is busy inaugurating film festival."
Referring to her upcoming visit to London to attend a programme at sister Nivedita's birthplace in that country, Banerjee said, "while usually I go abroad once a year, this is a special invite which will make Bengal proud."
Turning to her recent visit to the Hague for receiving an award for Kanyashree project at the World Public Service Forum by UN, she said, "We had gone as it was a special honour from the UN and had I not gone it would have amounted to showing disrespect to my own Bengal."
Referring to the KIFF, Banerjee said, the stature of the festival has been restored and the government is resolute to make it grow in the future.