Kolkata, Jan 9: After high drama over the past couple of days, the organisers of Pakistani ghazal legend Ghulam Ali’s scheduled performance here on January 12 announced that the maestro and his son will hold their show at the Netaji Indoor Stadium.
Earlier in the day, it had been announced that Ghulam Ali would perform at the Mohun Bagan ground following apprehensions that holding the concert at the iconic Eden Gardens may damage the ground ahead of the T20 cricket world cup starting in March.
However, late on Friday night, West Bengal Minorities Development and Finance Corporation chairman Sultan Ahmed, who is the main organiser of the event, confirmed to IANS that the Netaji Indoor stadium would be the venue.
“The show will be held at the Netaji Indoor Stadium,” he said.
Earlier on Friday, Ahmed had inspected the Mohun Bagan club ground and spoken to the club’s authorities. He said the club had agreed to let the venue out for Ali’s performance. Asked by the media on whether the event could affect the ground, the Trinamool Congress MP had asserted it will not.
Initially, the Park Circus maidan was chosen as the venue for the maestro’s recital. However, security concerns cited by the Kolkata police led to a change of plans.
“One source had told us Eden Gardens will host the performance but later we were informed that the International Cricket Council will inspect the ground ahead of the T20 World Cup. So we decided not to hold it there (Eden). We don’t want any controversy,” said Ahmed in response to a poser on why Eden Gardens was ticked-off the list.
Earlier this week there were reports that Cricket Association of Bengal president Sourav Ganguly had agreed to hold the event at The Eden Gardens. But Ganguly this evening claimed he had never agreed to the proposal.
“I was surprised after reading it in the newspapers this morning. From the very beginning I had said it cannot be done. I had a meeting with deputy commissioner of Kolkata police (south) and I told him it wasn’t possible.
“Last morning I told Sultan Ahmed the same after receiving the proposal from the West Bengal Minorities Development and Finance Corporation,” Ganguly told media persons here.
After the cancellation of his concert in Mumbai due to threats by the Shiv Sena, Ghulam Ali in November had expressed his disappointment asserting “never to return to India”.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had offered Kolkata as a venue following the cancellation of the Mumbai concert in October. (IANS)