KOLKATA: The Trinamool Congress Monday celebrated ‘Khela Hobe Diwas’ across West Bengal, as party leaders observed the day by organising football matches in every nook and corner of the state.
The events are aimed at promoting sports and as a mark of respect to 16 people who had died in a stampede during a football match in Kolkata on this day in 1980.
TMC supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had last month announced that August 16 would be observed as ‘Khela Hobe Divas’.
‘Khela Hobe’ (will play) was the battle cry of the TMC during the high-octane assembly polls in April-May this year, as the party defeated the BJP to storm back to power in West Bengal for the third consecutive time.
The TMC, which is looking to increase its national footprint, has also made mega plans to mark the day in various parts of the country, including Tripura, where it has directed a lot of energy with an eye on the 2023 assembly polls.
“The ‘Khela Hobe Diwas’ is being observed across the state. In other parts of the country, too, we have plans to organise events. However, in some BJP-ruled states, we were not given permission. We are still pursuing the matter with the authorities,” TMC state general secretary Kunal Ghosh said.
The West Bengal government has also lined up programmes at various stadiums and distributed footballs to various clubs.
Meanwhile, the BJP voiced its opposition to the ‘Khela Hobe Diwas’, claiming that the Muslim League had launched its Direct Action Day and began the Great Calcutta Killings in 1946 on August 16.
The saffron party has decided to observe the day as ‘Paschimbongo Bachao Diwas’ (Save West Bengal Day).