Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday denied the allegations of a Congress leader that he sat on the chair of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore during his visit to Santiniketan in West Bengal.
Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury had on Monday alleged that Shah disrespected Tagore by sitting on the Nobel laureate’s seat during his visit to Visva Bharati University on January 20, reported NDTV.
Shah said in the Lok Sabha that he has a letter from the vice chancellor of Visva Bharati University that clarifies that no such incident happened. “The place where I have been mentioned sitting is [near] a window where anyone can sit,” the home minister said.
He said that the former presidents Pratibha Patil, Pranab Mukherjee and ex-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi also sat on the same spot. “When Bangladeshi Prime Minister [Sheikh Hasina] came, she also sat on the same place and penned her comments,” Shah said. The home minister said that the records in Parliament should be set right and he brought documents to support his claims.
He said that members of the House should verify facts before speaking as it hurts the dignity of the Parliament. Taking a dig at the Congress, Shah said that it was not Chowdhury’s fault, but the mistake was committed because of the background of the party.
“I did not sit there but I have two photographs showing [former Prime Minister] Jawaharlal Nehru sitting where Thakurji [Tagore] used to sit,” Shah said. “The second photograph is of Rajiv Gandhi who is sitting on Tagore’s sofa and drinking tea.”
This is the latest development in the tussle between the BJP and the Trinamool Congress involving Bengal’s icons and legacies ahead of the Assembly elections due in the state in April-May. The Trinamool Congress has accused the BJP of trying to appropriate personalities such as freedom fighter Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Tagore for votes in its campaign for the state elections.
In Parliament too, Chowdhury and TMC leader Saugata Roy commented on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s beard, accusing him of trying to look like Tagore “without understanding Bengal”.