An unsavoury controversy has erupted over the portrait of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose that was unveiled at Rashtrapati Bhavan by President Ramnath Kovind on the occasion of the great freedom fighter’s death birth anniversary on January 23.
While the President of India paid high homage to the freedom fighter, some journalists and politicians claimed that the portrait inaugurated at the Rashtrapati Bhavan was not that of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose but that of Bengali actor Prosenjit Chatterjee, who had played the role of Netaji in a film, despite government sources reiterating that the portrait was indeed that of Netaji.
Chandra Kumar Bose, Netaji’s grandnephew, too emphasised that the portrait that was inaugurated at the Rashtrapati Bhavan was based on Netaji’s origins photograph and painted by Padma Shri award winning artist Paresh Maity.
President Ram Nath Kovind unveiled Netaji's portrait on Saturday to mark his birth anniversary, named ‘Parakram Diwas’ by the Centre.
The Bharatiya Janata Party too rubbished the charge and termed the controversy unnecessary.
BJP's social media chief Amit Malviya slammed the naysayers and tweeted: "If the neo-Bengal experts are done making a fool of the and Tmselves, outraging over the portrait of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, unveiled by the President of India, let me remind them that all their misplaced activism won't be able to save Mamata Banerjee..."
However, naysayers continued to lampoon what they termed was a huge error. Among those who ridiculed the portrait were Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra, journalists Barkha Dutt, Sagarika Ghose, Sidharth Bhatia, Swati Chaturvedi, Rohini Singh and other liberals and Modi-baiters on Twitter such as Joydas, et cetera.
TMC MP Mahua Moitra tweeted: "After donating ₹ 5 lakhs to the Ram temple the President honours Netaji by unveiling a portrait of Prasenjit, the actor who played him in biopic God Save India (because this government certainly can't)." She has, however, since deleted the tweet.
Several posts on Twitter that ridiculed the portrait have also deleted their tweets.
The actor himself tweeted, making it clear that it was not his photograph:
However, after creating a major hullabaloo over a non-issue, when these naysayers realised that they had made a mistake, they quickly removed their tweets, but have yet to show regret over their impetuous charge.
The President of India’s official Twitter handle has not reacted to the controversy at all.