West Bengal: BJP national secretary visits TMC protest site outside Visva-Bharati

West Bengal: BJP national secretary visits TMC protest site outside Visva-Bharati

Kolkata, Nov 7 (PTI) BJP's national secretary Anupam Hazra visited a TMC protest site in West Bengal's Birbhum district on Tuesday, in an embarrassment for the opposition party, which said that he was free to join the ruling side.

Hazra, a former MP, went to the TMC protest site outside the Visva-Bharati university in the evening, and garlanded the statue of Rabindranath Tagore. The TMC has been protesting at the spot over the plaques installed at the varsity to mark the UNESCO world heritage tag.

The plaques installed at the central varsity’s campus in Santiniketan do not have Tagore's name, but those of PM Narendra Modi, who is the chancellor, and vice-chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor CV Ananda Bose have criticised the varsity for omitting Tagore's name from the plaques.

Santiniketan, where Tagore built Visva-Bharati over a century ago, was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in September.

'I have been saying this for a long time that this vice-chancellor is trying to pretend that he is a BJP leader. Once his tenure ends, we will restore the honour of this place, including Santiniketan. He has not only maligned Santiniketan but the entire Visva-Bharati campus. All of us who love Visva-Bharati and Rabindranath Tagore want this VC removed,' said Hazra.

During his unannounced visit, no TMC leader was present at the protest site.

Reacting to it, state BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said, 'If someone feels uncomfortable in the BJP, he is free to join any other political party, including the TMC. There are dedicated BJP workers who have devoted their entire lives to the party.' Hazra, who switched over from the TMC ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, had on Monday criticised the state BJP, alleging that it was sidelining its old leaders.

Former state BJP president Tathagata Roy, who was also the governors of Tripura and Meghalaya, supported Hazra.

'The state BJP is in disarray. With the Lok Sabha election just six months away, the state leadership is preoccupied with allotting organisational posts. This is unfortunate,' he said.

A host of leaders, including MLAs and an MP, have left the BJP in West Bengal after the 2021 assembly elections. The party has also witnessed protests in various parts of the state due to the organisational changes it made. PTI PNT SOM

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