West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday, 11 June, installed a new bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's at a college in Kolkata named after the 19th century social reformer.
She also unveiled an 8.5-ft pristine white fibre-glass statue of Vidyasagar in the courtyard of the college, PTI reported.
“Every state has its own heritage and language. It's our India. But BJP will not decide the fate of the state,” she said. Claiming that the BJP is "planning to change Bengal into Gujarat", she said, "I am ready to go to jail but will not allow it to happen."
Earlier in the day, Mamata had inaugurated the bust of Vidyasagar, garlanding it at a ceremonial programme at Kolkata’s Hare School ground in College Street. She then held a ‘pad yatra’ till Vidyasagar College, with the bust riding ahead in an open jeep, in order to install it inside the college premises.
Eminent poets, writers and senior ministers were present at the programme held to inaugurate the bust and joined her in the march as well.
The new statue is six feet tall. Mamata had earlier said that the new bust will be made of bronze, adding that another one was also being made. According to The Indian Express, it will be placed at the gates of the college.
On Violence in West Bengal
After unveiling the bust near Hare school, which was then transferred to Vidyasagar College, Banerjee said altogether 10 people were killed in post-poll violence in the state and eight of them belonged to her party -- the Trinamool Congress.
The other two are BJP supporters, she said.
"Every death is unfortunate. I will ask the chief secretary to provide assistance from the disaster management fund to the families of all the 10 deceased," she said.
Post-poll violence has been reported from various places of West Bengal after the BJP secured 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state, just four less than that of the TMC.
All the cases will be investigated, the chief minister said.
Promises to Replace Bust
The event comes a month after the bust of social reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was vandalised inside the college premises in Kolkata on 14 May, during a roadshow held by BJP leader Amit Shah.
The incident took place ahead of the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections, leading to furore in the state and becoming a poll issue.
"We will replace the vandalised bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar as a symbolic gesture on 11 June. We have ordered much larger bronze statues – a bust and a full length," Mamata had said earlier in June, reported IANS.
Mamata also said: “We will wholly develop Vidyasagar College and will do it beautifully. We will do up the museum as well.”
“The Vidyasagar bust will be reinstated in the same room, where it was installed earlier. The CM will unveil the bust on the Hare School ground at 1 pm, and then it will be transported to Vidyasagar College,” Education Minister Partha Chatterjee had told the media recently.
Incidentally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also promised a "grand statue" of the 19th century reformer Vidyasagar to be installed at the same spot where his bust was vandalised in city.
(With inputs from The Indian Express, IANS and ANI.)
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