Miriti (West Bengal): Far from the 2G spectrum row and chairing meetings of  G-24 countries, union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has yet again donned the priest's robe for the traditional Durga Puja celebrations at his ancestral home here. Wearing the pattabastra (a silk cloth worn for worshipping the deity), Mukherjee has been performing the puja rituals since Monday. He also reads from the religious script 'Sree Sree Chandi' at this Birbhum district village, about 200 km from Kolkata.

“I look forward to the puja every year. This is a traditional family event. And I try to continue the tradition,” Mukherjee told television channels.

Mukherjee fasts daily till all the religious rituals get over.
 
With the elan of a professional priest, Mukherjee has been chanting the mantras (scriptural verses) and conducting the aarti every day, watched in awe by the villagers, besides a large number of security personnel, bureaucrats and businessmen.

Mukherjee went to the village pond on Monday for 'filling the pitcher' - a ritual kick-starting the puja on Mahasaptami.
 
He also performed the Sandhi puja in the wee hours on Wednesday.
 
Mukherjee has been performing the worship for the five-day autumnal festival - the biggest celebration for Bengalis - since years. He usually comes home to 'Mukherjee Bhavan' on Shasthi and stays there with his family till the immersion of the idols on Dasami - which falls on Thursday this year.

The Union Minister was assisted by his son Abhijit, himself now in the state assembly as a Congress member.

The finance minister's grandfather started the Durga Puja celebrations at 'Mukherjee Bhavan' 117 years ago.

(Agencies)