Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has come under fire from the opposition several times for spending public money on festivals, on Wednesday countered criticism saying celebrations shouldn't stop because of certain problems as they form the backbone of culture.
She claimed the golden era of Bengal's folk theatre (jatra) was back under her government's patronage.
"It is impossible to imagine our lives without festivals. Problems will be there but we must never stop celebrations," Banerjee said in a veiled dig at the opposition at the inauguration of the 20th edition of the State Jatra Festival at Kachhari Maidan in Barasat in North 24 Parganas.
"Some people ask why there are so many festivals. These festivals are part of our culture. We are alive because our culture is alive. Society thrives because of heritage," she said.
The Trinamool Congress supremo said jatra artistes will perform in state government functions.
"The golden era of jatra is back. We will continue to help jatra artistes in future. Our folk artistes perform in government functions now. We will also use our talented jatra artistes," Banerjee said.