Kolkata: When an influential Kolkata Imam tears apart Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee for doling out sops worth Rs 28 crore to clubs celebrating Durga Puja, it's a new episode of an old series. But Pirzada Taha Siddiqui of Furfura Sharif did not stop at that. He held a protest rally without caring to seek Kolkata Police's permission for the event. Hundreds of Muslim youth assembled in front of the Tipu Sultan Masjid, a stronghold of Imam Barkati who was unceremoniously removed from his office.

Under the banner of the All Bengal Minority Youth Federation (ABMYF), its general secretary Md Qamruzzaman roared, "We don't support distribution of government money for any religious purpose." Interestingly, he forgot to mention that 56,000 imams and muezzins have been getting a monthly stipend of Rs 2,500 and Rs 1,000 respectively ever since Mamata Banerjee came to power in 2011.

No wonder, the already reeling state exchequer incurs a cost in crores for the sop to Islamists every month. But for the likes of Qamruzzaman and Pirzada Taha Siddiqui, what pricks is the sop for Durga Puja, which has been proposed for the first time ever since Banerjee came to power.

In the wake of the announcement made by the state government, the Islamists are demanding that the stipend for imams and muezzins be hiked.

Siddiqui, believed to be crucial for Muslim votes in Bengal, for the first time rebelled against Mamata's 'Ma, Mati, Manush' government. Siddiqui has gone to the extent of threatening to overthrow the government: "We have never spoken on behalf of Mamata Banerjee, neither shall we do it. We only speak in favour of those standing for the truth. There are four crore Muslims in West Bengal. Mamata should not forget that we can always resurrect the Congress or the CPI(M) from their graves as the secular alternative in West Bengal."

Reacting to the development, Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh said, "This only exposes Mamata's politics of Muslim appeasement and her belated effort to win back Hindus."

When hundreds take out an anti-government march with a communal expectation, ignoring no objection from the police, the stunned silence from the ruling TMC emboldens the allegations made by BJP.