Kolkata: Ties between the Congress and the Trinamool Congress hit another rough patch on Sunday after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee decided to rename the historic Indira Bhawan after a revolutionary Bengali poet, Kazi Nazrul Islam. Another key regional player, the CPI(M), did not remain far behind and jumped into the scene without much delay.
Indira Bhawan is located in the Salt Lake area near Kolkata. Mamata Banerjee, on Sunday decided to rename it Nazrul Bhawan.
The Congress, however, called it an attempt to "wipe out history". The building is particularly significant to the party as the firebrand Congress leader it is named after had stayed there during an AICC convention in 1972.
Congress General Secretary for West Bengal, Professor Om Prakash Mishra, says that the decision taken by the TMC government "has no logic. It is unfortunate especially after the decision was taken on the Founder’s Day of Indian National Congress".
Meanwhile, Firhad Hakim, Urban Development Minsiter of West Bengal says, "It is unfortunate that they are opposing but we are determined that we will call it the Nazrul Academy. One thing they must remember is that they need our support in the center, but we are not hankering for their support."
For the CPI(M) too, the building is a matter of history and heart. After all, Jyoti Basu had spent more than 20 years of his life at Indira Bhawan.
Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, former Mayor and CPI(M) leader, said, "This is an attempt on part of the pygmies of the day to wipe out the history of the tallest leaders of the country in the post- Nehru era - those who have been acclaimed by all - Indira Gandhi and Jyoti Basu."
It is simply ironic that the building that once symbolised political civility and courtesy between the Congress and the CPI(M) is now locked in a three-pronged battle between the Congress and its ally, the TMC and the Left.