West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will visit Lata Mangeshkar in Mumbai to confer the legendary singer with Banga Bibhushan—the highest civilian award in West Bengal.
The state government had decided to give the singer the award and had sought her permission to do so. A letter from Mangeshkar, agreeing to accept the award, reached the CM's office on Friday. The singer had, however, expressed her inability to come to Kolkata to receive the award.
“I will personally go to Mumbai on October 20 to hand over the award to her. A few distinguished people like Sanjiv Goenka (industrialist) will accompany me,” said Mamata.
The CM said she was overwhelmed by the letter from Mangeshkar, consenting to accept the award.
“The love, respect and admiration that Lata ji has for Bengal and the way she cherishes her wonderful memories with the state and different iconic personalities of the state, as reflected in her letter, has touched me very deeply”.
The civilian award was first mooted by Mamata Banerjee when she came to power in 2011. The state government had never conferred anyone with a civilian award on the lines of the Padma awards given by the Centre. Although many state governments give awards to distinguished people, such awards are not on par with the civilian awards of the Centre.
There are, however, many who feel that the suffix Bibhushan suggests that Banga Bibhushan challenges the central awards.