Committed to vision of Vidyasagar: Modi promises statue at ‘same spot’

NEW DELHI: It takes nearly 40 hours for the Prime Minister Modi to break his silence for the 19th century reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, whose bust was broken in clashes at Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata on Tuesday.

Modi on Thursday while addressing a rally in Mau district promise to a “grand statue” of the Bengal Renaissance figure at the same spot where his bust was vandalized in Kolkata.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee summarily rejected the offer, saying: “Bengal does not seek alms from BJP. It has enough funds for a new bust.”

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Acknowledging the fact that Vidyasagar has immense emotional value for the people of Bengal, PM Modi on Thursday said: “I also want to say that my government, which is committed to the vision of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagarji, we will install the statue made of ‘panch dhatu’ (five metals) at the same place where the earlier status was installed.”

The Election Commission, which has curtailed campaigning in Bengal, has said it was “deeply anguished at the vandalism done to the statue” of an icon who, “besides his many other achievements as a philosopher, academic educator, writer and philanthropist, worked all his life in the cause of widow remarriage which was unthought and unheard of in the ultraconservative society in those days”.

The PM also sought strong action against what he described as ‘hooliganism by Trinamool Congress workers.’

“The culture of Bengal forms the essence of the BJP government. From the Vedas to Vivekananda and from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee, our mind and heart is influenced by the energy of Bengal,” the Prime Minister said in Mau.

A statue of renowned Bengal reformer, Vidyasagar had been vandalized during the violence that took place during BJP President Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata. Clash took place between Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Trinamool Congress ahead of the final round of the country’s hard-fought national election. Both the parties have been blaming each other for the incident.

The state has been hit by repeated violence between the two parties during the six-week-long election that ends Sunday. Results will be announced on May 23.

Modi’s BJP hopes to capture many of the state’s 42 parliament seats from the TMC to compensate for losses predicted in other regions.

Political observers say the aggressive campaign by Modi’s party against the TMC in the eastern state has made it one of the most bitter contests in the election.

Modi won a landslide victory in 2014 but many pollsters expect him to lose his overall majority this time. A good performance in West Bengal would significantly improve his chances of a second term.

With agencies inputs

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