The festival, which is a brainchild of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee as she thought of developing the occasion on the lines of Goa, saw total confusion prevailing about who would inaugurate it. The Chief Minister, who was present in the maiden festival last year, was absent this time for she was busy at a rally in Belda. No official from the tourism department could be spotted for it was learnt that they had gone to Delhi to get investors.
State Tourism Minister Krishnendu Narayan Chowdhury was busy campaigning in Malda, it was said. Another minister Firhad Hakim was likely to come in place of Banerjee but he could not for he was admitted to a hospital in Kolkata after falling ill. Finally, the festival was inaugurated one-and-half hours after schedule by the MP Shishir Adhikari, who is also the chairman of Digha Sankarpur Development Authority (DSDA).
The inauguration ceremony was, however, marred by Trinamool Congress's inner rift. Party MLA Akhil Giri, the predecessor of Adhikari in the DSDA who was made the convenor of the beach festival committee, could not be found anywhere on the occasion. When asked, he said he did not come for he was not invited! Another former chairman of the DSDA Debashis Dutta also did not attend the programme, citing important work.
And finally, most of the tourists for whom the festival has been organised, had no knowledge about it. There is little publicity for the festival and among the few hundreds people who were present in Digha at the time of the opening ceremony, it was difficult to understand who were really tourists.
Shishir Adhikari tried to make up for the CM's absence and said Digha would be transformed in a few years. However, such rhetoric is not new and last year also, the opening day of the ceremony had become an occasion of political show.
Adhikari said that Mamata Banerjee would visit Digha in February and they were working towards realising her dream. Whatever be the dreams, one thing is clear. The festival has remained just a lifeless show and the gap between Digha and Goa has not been covered by an inch.