The West Bengal government on Monday slammed the BJP for placing one of its leaders Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya on the same pedestal as Swami Vivekananda and said it was “unacceptable”.
Referring to Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah’s visit to Swami Vivekananda’s ancestral house here, Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said: “Going to his residence to honour Swami Vivekananda… organising programmes and garlanding him and, on the other hand at the same time, Upadhyaya and Vivekananda are placed on the same pedestal and Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) is addressing students. This is unacceptable.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday addressed a student leaders’ convention on the theme of “Young lndia, New lndia — A Resurgent Nation: From Sankalp to Siddhi” in New Delhi on the occasion of Upadhyaya’s centenary celebration and the 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s address at the World Parliament of Religions at Chicago in the US on September 11, 1893.
The Bengal government had opposed the Centre over a University Grants Commission circular that asked all Vice Chancellors of universities and heads of higher educational institutions to “provide opportunity and facility to teachers and students to view Modi’s address”.
The Mamata Banerjee-led dispensation had alleged that the circular was an attempt to saffronise the country’s education system and dubbed it a “Tughlaqi” decision.
Chatterjee, a senior Trinamool Congress leader, criticised the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology, Shibpur (formerly Bengal Engineering and Science University) authorities for telecasting live Modi’s speech on its campus.
“Maybe because they are a central varsity, they have adhered to the circular. They should have been careful. Sometimes, people do things to save their jobs. We are not among those who believe that Swami Vivekananda and Upadhyay should be placed on the same pedestal. We believe Vivekananda is Vivekananda… he is a role model for generations.”
IIEST Director Ajoy Kumar Ray said: “No matter what differences in opinion are, when a Prime Minister wants to lecture students… it’s good for them (students) if they listen to the address. It is crucial to spread the message of Vivekananda.”
“…Prime Minister will address the nation through a live telecast… students, faculty, and staff are requested to attend the programme at Alumni Seminar Hall at 11 a.m.,” Ray had said on Facebook earlier.