Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called for religious harmony and affection on Thursday as she inaugurated the ISKCON Rathyatra festival, the largest in the city.
Banerjee, who was flanked by newly-elected MP Nusrat Jahan and her husband Nikhil Jain, said, “Togetherness and tolerance for all faiths is the real religion.”
Urging people to adopt peace and solidarity, the chief minister wished well for everyone on the occasion and chanted “Jai Jagannath”, “Jai Hind” and “Jai Bangla” before the chariot-pulling ceremony began from the Albert Road centre of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
Sporting a lime green saree, red bangles, a “mangalsutra” and vermilion, Jahan took part in the Rathyatra rituals along with Tollywood actor Soham and her entrepreneur husband, who was wearing white kurta-pyjama.
“In West Bengal, we participate in festivals irrespective of caste, creed or religion. Bengal symbolises amity,” the MP from Basirhat said.
On Thursday, the Basirhat MP conveyed her gratitude to ISKCON for inviting her to the Rathyatra celebrations and extended her best wishes to all.
We should all move ahead together and learn to live together: Nusrat
“We should all move ahead together and learn to live together… Jai Jagannath,” she told the gathering.
ISKCON spokesperson Radharaman Das had, on July 2, thanked Jahan for accepting the invitation as a special guest for the inauguration of their 48th Rathyatra ceremony.
“Nusrat Jahan represents a new India… an all-inclusive India. Respect for others’ religious beliefs and participation in their festivities will make India great again. This is what India stands for and youngsters like Nusrat Jahan are showing the path forward,” he had said.