West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday offered tributes to Bengali reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar as she unveiled his new statue at an event in Kolkata. This comes after the bust of Vidyasagar was vandalised and smashed at Vidyasagar College on May 14 in clashes during the roadshow of BJP chief Amit Shah.

Mamata paid floral tributes to the social reformer at a ceremonial programme at the Hare School ground on College Street. She will now be visiting the Vidyasagar college in Bidhan Sarani, where the statue will be installed.
Vidyasagar’s statue unveiling event was attended by a host of politicians, intellectuals, noted artists of the Bengali film industry.

Interestingly the statue which has now been unmasked by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief was also promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the same venue.

During the election violence, Mamata had promised to get the bust replaced with a new one at the earliest. 

Both the BJP and the Trinamool leaders had been at loggerheads after the 19th century Bengal Renaissance icon Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was vandalised at the Bidhan Sarani campus in north Calcutta during the violence that took place during BJP president Shah’s massive roadshow. The next day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the NDA government will reinstall his statue at the same spot in Kolkata where it was vandalised by the Trinamool cadres.

Artisans in Kolkata’s idol-making hub Kumartuli got an unusually high number of requests to make busts of Vidyasagar since a bust of his was vandalised at Vidyasagar College. A livid Banerjee had warned that she would not spare anyone who broke Vidyasagar’s statue and damaged college property.

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