Kolkata: The Trinamool Congress on Tuesday accused the BJP-led government at the Centre of sending IT notices to the Durga Puja committees to intimidate them and make them surrender to the saffron camp.
Accusing BJP of "political double standards" for alleging that TMC was trying to stop Durga puja in Bengal, it said in reality it is the saffron party which is trying to do so. The TMC held a day-long dharna here in protest against central government's decision to serve IT notices to Durga puja committees.
"During the Lok Sabha poll campaign they(BJP) used to allege that our government had tried to stop Durga Puja in the state. This was completely false and politically motivated.
It is the BJP government which is trying to do it now by sending IT notices to Durga puja committees. This is political double standards," TMC secretary general and state Education Minister Partha Chatterjee told reporters.
The sole intention of sending IT notices to the puja committees is to intimidate them and make them surrender to the BJP so that its leaders can control them, he alleged.
"They (BJP) had initially planned to take over these committees but failed. So now they are trying to threaten puja committees with IT notices. Most of these committees conduct Durga Puja with subscription taken from locals and a handful of local advertisements. We fail to understand what it has to do with the Income Tax department," Chatterjee said.
West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee had on Sunday criticised the Centre for issuing income tax notices to several Durga Puja committees in the city saying festivals should be exempt from levies.
She had also announced that the women's wing of the party - 'Banga Janani Brigade' will lead the eight-hour-long dharna.
BJP had criticised TMC's decision to hold the protest and accused a section of its leaders of laundering money "looted" in the chit fund scams in the state through the puja committees.
"Why are they(TMC) so afraid if the IT department is looking into the source of money (of the puja committees) if there is nothing wrong in it? Most of the Durga puja committees in Kolkata are controlled by TMC leaders. And they use these committees to launder black money and cut money," senior BJP leader Mukul Roy had said.
TMC has termed the allegations as baseless. Post the Lok Sabha elections, the two parties have been rushing to gain control of the city's prominent pujas, a time-tested medium to reach out to the people.