Amit Shah, Rabindranath Tagore, birth anniversary, TMC, Amartya Sen, Santiniketan
Union Home Minister Amit Shah paying tribute to Rabindranath Tagore on his birth anniversary at Jorasanko Thakurbari in Kolkata | Photo: PIB

BJP faces TMC barbs as Amit Shah visits Rabindranath's house in Kolkata

Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s day-long visit to Bengal on Tuesday to participate in the birth anniversary celebrations of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore ran into pointed criticism by the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC). The TMC linked Shah’s visit to the centrally-run Visva Bharati university’s eviction notice to another Nobel laureate, Amartya Sen.

“Amit Shah comes to pay tribute to Rabindranath but a Nobel laureate, who was named Amartya by Rabindranath Tagore, is being served an eviction notice by Visva Bharati,” said Bengal minister Shashi Panja at the state’s official programme to mark Tagore’s birth anniversary, reports NDTV.

Also read: Visva-Bharati University tells Amartya Sen to vacate 13 decimals of land by May 6

Amartya Sen is the grandson of a close friend of Rabindranath, who named the child.

Shah offers floral tribute

Shah, accompanied by senior state BJP leaders, on Tuesday visited Jorasakho Thakurbari, the ancestral house of the bard in north Kolkata, and offered a floral tribute.

“Amit Shah ji paid floral tributes to Kabiguru Rabindranath Tagore. He garlanded the statue and visited the room where Tagore stayed. The home minister also spoke to officials there, who informed him about the historical importance of the place,” a state BJP leader said.

Mamata’s jibe

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee too took a jibe at Shah and BJP chief J P Nadda, who had a few years ago mistakenly mentioned Santiniketan — where the Visva Bharati University stands today — as the poet’s birthplace.

“Some people think Shantiniketan is Tagore’s birthplace. Some people’s rallies end up destroying a statue of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar,” Mamata said adding that BJP leaders should know about the state instead of reading out misinformation “from a cheat sheet, or a teleprompter”.

Panja too referred to Nadda’s faux pas, saying that the BJP leaders were earlier “confused between the janmabhoomi (birthplace) and karmabhoomi (place of work) of Tagore.”

“At least now they know he was born at Jorasanko,” NDTV quoted Panja as saying.

Sen’s land dispute

The TMC has been supporting Amartya Sen, who for the past several months has been involved in a dispute with Visva Bharti over a tract of land attached to Pratichi, his ancestral property in Shantiniketan.

The university claims the land is “illegally occupied” and has threatened to evict Sen if he failed to vacate it within the deadline.

The Calcutta High Court had last week put a freeze against Visva Bharati’s move.

Also read: Calcutta HC stays Visva-Bharati move to seize part of Amartya Sen’s land

Shah, who arrived in the city on Monday night, was scheduled to attend a cultural programme at Science City on Tuesday evening to celebrate the birth anniversary of Tagore, organised by Khola Hawa, a socio-cultural body based in West Bengal.

(With Agency inputs)

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