Kolkata, Nov 20 IANS | 2 years ago

A statue of late Communist patriarch Jyoti Basu, whose birth centenary is being celebrated across West Bengal, was found vandalised and splashed with tar early Wednesday in neighbouring Howrah district.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) blamed the ruling Trinamool Congress for the vandalism, saying it was an attempt to scare people in the run-up to the Howrah Municipal Corporations polls Friday. The Trinamool denied the allegations.

There was a stir after the fibre glass statue at a primary school in Salkia Fultala Ghat was found damaged early Wednesday. Soon, leaders and cadres of the CPI-M -- of which Basu was a founding member -- rushed to the spot and staged an angry demonstration, blaming the Trinamool.

"The vandalism seems to have taken place last night (Tuesday). We condemn this. The government must immediately take steps to arrest the miscreants," said leader of opposition and CPI-M politburo member Surjya Kanta Mishra in the assembly.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chatterjee said what has happened was "wrong" and the Howrah police commissioner has been told to take action.

"We don't indulge in such dirty politics. In the past, our supremo Mamata Banerjee's picture was torn and defaced with tar. It is a conspiracy hatched by the CPI-M to defame our party and chief," said a Howrah district Trinamool leader.

Born July 8, 1914, Basu was state chief minister for 23 years - the longest tenure for the coveted post in independent India - till he voluntarily stepped down in 2000 due to old age and health problems.

Basu almost became India's prime minister in 1996 as the head of a centre-Left United Front government. But the CPI-M vetoed the proposal, and the leader later dubbed the party's decision a "historical blunder". He died Jan 17, 2010.

(Posted on 20-11-2013)