New Delhi: In a move that is seen as a big win for the Mamata Banerjee government, the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday refused to stay the government’s decision to offer grants to puja committees and pandals for the Durga Puja celebrations. The division bench headed by acting Chief Justice Debasish Kar Gupta quashed the PIL filed that sought the decision to be cancelled calling it ‘unconstitutional’.

Last Friday it stayed the state government’s decision to offer Rs 10,000 to each of the 28,000 puja committees and pandals in Bengal. Today’s decision came as a big reprieve for Banerjee, who is battling minority ire over this donation.

Sourav Gupta and Advocate Dyutiman Chatterjee jointly filed this PIL, that many within TMC called ‘politically motivated’.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is on an image makeover from a pro-minority leader to a more secular leader, used this donation to win over the aggrieved Hindu votes ahead of crucial 2019 General election where Bengal has 42 seats.

On September 10 she announced the same, taking her political opponents by surprise. She had said a grant of Rs 10,000 will be provided to 25,000 puja committees in the district and 3,000 in Kolkata.

Very recently, an influential imam of Kolkata, Pirzada Taha Siddiqui, took to streets along with thousands of Muslims, defying a police restriction to oppose this grant. No wonder the TMC is happy with today’s verdict which could have cost it dearly in terms of Hindu votes.