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Posted at: Jun 12, 2019, 6:35 AM; last updated: Jun 12, 2019, 6:35 AM (IST)

Weeks after vandalism, Didi unveils new Vidyasagar bust

Slams BJP for post-poll clashes, says 8 TMC workers among 10 killed
Weeks after vandalism, Didi unveils new Vidyasagar bust
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee garlands the reinstalled bust of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. PTI

Kolkata, June 11

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today installed a new bust of 19th century social reformer Iswhar Chandra Vidyasagar at the college where an old one was vandalised during a roadshow of BJP president Amit Shah last month.

She also unveiled an 8.5-ft pristine white fibre-glass statue of Vidyasagar in the courtyard of the college.

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 (TMC). 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 the 10 deceased,” she said, adding all deaths would be investigated.

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.

Clashes between the ruling TMC and the BJP took place in several districts, including North 24 Parganas, Coochbehar, Howrah and West Burdwan, resulting in many deaths and injuries. The saffron party leaders are claiming that they would dethrone TMC in the legislative assembly in 2021.

Claiming that the BJP is “planning to turn Bengal into Gujarat”, she said: “I am ready to go to jail but will not allow it to happen.”

The new bust was unveiled by Banerjee at a programme held near Hare School and then transported in an open jeep to Vidyasagar College, where it was installed at the same place where the vandalised one was placed.

Eminent poets, writers and senior ministers were also present at the programme.

The shattering of the bust led to bitter recrimination, with both Banerjee and Shah accusing each other’s party workers of vandalism.

On Monday, Banerjee had accused the Centre and the BJP of engineering violence in the state to topple her government, a charge denied by the saffron party. In an advisory to the state government, the Ministry of Home Affairs had asked the state government to maintain law and order, peace and public tranquility.

The BJP said it would not demand President’s Rule in West Bengal even though “a lawless situation prevails” in the state as Banerjee would then seek sympathy votes.

Senior BJP leader Mukul Roy today blamed Banerjee for the violence in Sandeshkhali, saying her speeches “fuelled” the attacks on supporters of the saffron party. — PTI


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