Trinamool Congress, which contested the elections, organized a ‘Mega’ festival on the lines of Basant Utsav

Following Visva-Bharati’s decision to stay away from organizing the official event for the fifth consecutive year, Trinamool has arranged a “mega” celebration on the lines of Basant Utsav.

This election season the event aims to woo the lakhs of tourists who have already reached the university city.
Apart from the main event, the ruling government had planned at least half a dozen smaller events in different parts of Shantiniketan and Bolpur as the locals do not want to miss out on the flavor of the traditional Basant Utsav.

“The people of Bengal know that Trinamool is steadfast in preserving the culture and tradition of Rabindranath Tagore. That is why we have arranged huge programs in and around Shantiniketan, at Sonajhuri forest and many other places. I, along with our party workers and leaders, will participate in each and every program on Monday,” said Trinamool’s Bolpur MP Asit Mal after his party has re-fielded him for the 2024 elections.

Organization of Basant Utsav, which coincides with Holi, by various groups and organizations began in 2021, after Visva-Bharati stopped organizing the event in 2020 amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Authorities did not hold the festival in 2021 citing the pandemic and in 2022 and 2023 citing lack of infrastructure.
This time, Visva-Bharati officials decided not to organize the festival to “protect the complex from damage” to it, a recently declared UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A Trinamool leader in Bolpur said the party planned an informal Basant Utsav at a different location in 2021 to woo enthusiastic tourists and locals, keeping in mind the assembly elections that year. This time the ruling party does not want to miss the political opportunity before the general elections by organizing large-scale programs.
“Already, Shantiniketan is filled with tourists. On the day of Holi alone, around three lakh people will be in Shantiniketan. So it is a good time for the party to ensure that people are not deprived. This will help the party convey the message that our government and party are dedicated to the culture and ethos of Bengal, unlike the BJP,” said a senior Trinamool leader.

Birbhum police and administration have taken measures for traffic management on Monday.
“Last year, there was traffic jam in the city due to small informal events. This time the event in Sonajhuri will be very big. That is why we have issued guidelines on traffic and road closure,” said a policeman in Shantiniketan.
Trinamool leader Babu Das said they have made arrangements for e-rickshaws, CCTV cameras, a medical camp and drinking water for the tourists.
BJP leaders claimed that Trinamool’s efforts would go in vain. “People will not be distracted by Trinamool’s efforts. They are fed up with corruption,” said Bolpur BJP leader Sanyasi Charan Mandal.

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