Congress, Left slam Mamata on bunglow’s renaming

December 29th, 2011 - 12:05 am ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, Dec 28 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday drew flak from the Congress and the Left for announcing that Indira Bhawan — where Marxist leader Jyoti Basu spent over 20 years — would be rechristened and converted into a museum in the name of a poet.

She announced that the Indira Bhavan in Salt Lake, Kolkata’s satellite town, would be named Nazrul Bhavan in the honour of the Bengali revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.

Banerjee’s decision triggered protests from the Congress, which is part of the alliance government in the state with Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, as also left leaders.

The sprawling Indira Bhavan was built in 1972 as then prime minister Indira Gandhi’s temporary residence during a Congress session.

In 1989, the erstwhile Left Front government decided to allot the house to then chief minister Jyoti Basu.

Even after Basu retired in 2000, he continued to stay in the bungalow in the lieu of Rs.8,800 as rent paid by the party leadership. It was his home till his death in January 2010.

“We have decided that Indira Bhavan would be converted into a museum in the name of poet Nazrul Islam. The building would be named Nazrul Bhavan and would showcase items used by the great poet. The house would also be a hub of research on the poet,” Banerjee said.

The Congress leadership lashed out at Banerjee, alleging that she was trying to erase Indira Gandhi from public memory.

“I think it is a message that anything which is named after Congress leaders will cease to exist in the state. We condemn this decision. I will write to Congress president Sonia Gandhi about it,” said Congress MP Deepa Dasmunshi.

“She has become a laughing stock. Has she followed proper procedures for changing the name? Can she justify why she is changing the name,” asked Communist Party of India-Marxist central committee member Gautam Deb.

In line with the Dec 31 deadline of the state urban development department, the CPI-M state leadership has already removed all the belongings of Basu from Indira Bhavan.

Former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee said: “If a Nazrul Bhavan is coming up it is always a welcome move. But the question is where it is coming up. It is coming up at a place where Jyoti Basu spent more than 20 years of his life. We would be happy if Indira Bhavan is made into a library named after Jyoti Basu.”

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