The Trinamool Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party once again traded barbs on Thursday over the centenary celebrations of Visva-Bharati University, which was addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Addressing a press conference, Trinamool Congress MP Bratya Basu accused the Centre of insulting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee by inviting her for the event at the last minute on Wednesday night. “There was no invitation in the last 15 days,” Basu said, according to NDTV. “Maybe it came last night. If you invite someone, you cannot do it at the last minute. Is that the protocol? She is the chief minister of Bengal. You cannot insult her in this way.”
However, the state unit of the BJP tweeted an invitation letter, dated December 4, that was addressed to Banerjee.
On being informed about this invitation in the press conference, Basu pointed out that it does not have stamp, mentioning that the letter was received by the Chief Minister’s Office, reported the Hindustan Times.
“You have the letter but was it sent and received by the government?” he asked. “Do you have a copy which is stamped ‘received’? The vice chancellor [of Visva Bharati University] wrote a letter to himself thinking he is the chief minister and received it too.”
The TMC leader also criticised the prime minister’s speech and claimed that it contained factual errors. “[Rabindranath] Tagore’s brother who stayed in Gujarat was not the eldest brother,” Basu said, according to NDTV. “His wife’s name was Gyanadanandini, not Gyanandini which is what the prime minister said.” He claimed that Modi’s assertion that Tagore’s sister-in-law learnt to drape a saree differently from Gujarati women was not entirely correct, reported the Hindustan Times.
“It was not from Gujarati women alone that Satyendranath’s wife Gyanadanandini Devi learnt to wear the traditional saree in a different way,” the Trinamool MP said. “She was inspired by Parsi women as well but the prime minister will not name Parsis for the same reasons that stops him from mentioning Dalits.”
Basu read excerpts from Tagore’s novels Gora and Ghare Baire to assert that the nobel laureate’s ideas on nationalism and religion were against what the TMC leader said the prime minister’s advocates.