A month after the violent breakout in which the bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was vandalised during Amit Shah’s campaign in West Bengal, CM, on Tuesday unveiled a bust of the social reformer at a Kolkata school. The bust will later be put up at the Vidyasagar College, where the original statue was vandalised.
Along with it, she also unveiled an 8.5-ft pristine white fibre-glass statue of Vidyasagar in the courtyard of the college. While speaking at the event, she accused BJP of trying to disrupt Bengal's culture. "It doesn’t end at breaking a statue. Are they trying to disrupt the culture of Bengal? Bengal is not Gujarat," she said.
After unveiling ceremony, Banerjee claimed that a total of 10 people were killed in post-poll violence in the state and eight of them belonged to her party — the Trinamool Congress and the other two were BJP supporters.
"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.
Clashes between workers of the two parties took place during the Lok Sabha elections when the bust of the reformer was vandalised.
PM Narendra Modi had promised to install a "grand statue" at the same spot while blaming the TMC for the violence. "We saw hooliganism by TMC workers again during Bhai Amit Shah's roadshow in Kolkata. They vandalized Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar's statue. We are committed to Vidyasagar's vision and will install his grand statue at the same spot,” he said.
However, his offer was rejected by the CM who claimed the state had enough money to put up a new statue. "Modi has promised to rebuild the Vidyasagar statue in Kolkata. Why should we take their (BJP's) money, Bengal has enough resources,” she had also claimed that vandalising statues was one of BJP’s habits and the party had done so in Tripura as well.
Meanwhile, the political violence in Bengal, which began in the run-up to the polls, has been showing no signs of conclusion. On Saturday, two BJP workers and TMC supporters were killed, while on Monday night, two people lost their lives in a crude bomb explosion.