Written by Susmita Pakrasi | Edited by Avik Roy, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

The Trinamool Congress’ (TMC) famous slogan ‘Khela Hobe’ has made its way this year to a Durga Puja pandal in Kolkata as its theme. “Khela Hobe slogan is famous all over India. We chose this theme to motivate children and the youth to play outdoor games instead of mobile games,” artist Soumen Ghosh told news agency ANI.

“To promote sports we have chosen the theme of Khela Hobe and in Bhawanipore this time it was Khela Hobe. We have recreated icons like PV Sindhu, Neeraj Chopra, Mohan Bagan and football ‘khela hobey’ in our Durga Puja pandal this time to woo the visitors even though there are restrictions in entering Puja Pandal,” Subhankar Roychowdhury, general secretary of Bhawanipore Durgotsav Samiti told news agency ANI.

The pandal has been decorated with footballs, chess, ludo sets and basketballs. The Durga idol in the pandal is carried by four players depicting East Bengal and Mohan Bagan sporting clubs. Apart from that, the pandal has replicas of Olympians who won medals such as Neeraj Chopra, PV Sindhu and players of the Indian hockey team. “In Bengal, when Khela Diwas is celebrated for a single day, why can’t we put up this theme to spread the message that sports is necessary,” said Ghosh.

He further said that due to Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns put in place to prevent its spread, children are busy playing mobile games and have forgotten to play outdoor games such as football, chess, ludo and basketball.

Earlier, a ‘Khela Hobe’ tableau had made its way to the Independence Day parade on Kolkata’s Red Road. The TMC had also celebrated ‘Khela Hobe Diwas’ across West Bengal on August 16 as the party leaders observed the day by organising football matches.

The ‘Khela Hobe’ slogan, devised by youth party leader Debangshu Bhattacharya, was a rallying cry to take the fight to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the recently held assembly election, in which TMC won by a landslide.

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