Congress flays Mamata's move to rename Indira Bhavan

Congress activists Thursday protested outside the state secretariat here and demanded the West Bengal government withdraw the decision to rename Indira Bhawan -- which briefly served as the residence of late prime minister Indira Gandhi and later Marxist stalwart Jyoti Basu.

Notwithstanding that the Congress is a partner in the state's alliance government led by the Trinamool Congress, Congressmen have been up in arms against the decision to rename the guest house in the satellite town of Salt Lake as Nazrul Bhavan, in honour of the Bengali revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam.

Congress leaders have described it as a "calculated move" of Trinamool supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to erase the memories of Indira Gandhi. “This is a senseless act. How can you rename a building which has historic importance? It is just like renaming Taj Mahal as Rabindra Mahal,” state congress leader Arunavo Ghosh said.

Protests were also seen outside Indira Bhawan. “Congress activists are emotional about that building as it is the same building where Indira Gandhi had stayed for a few days. This is a strategy to erase everything associated with the Congress tradition,” said Congress MP Deepa Dasmunshi.

The sprawling mansion was built in 1972 as the then prime minister Indira Gandhi's temporary residence during a Congress session. In 1989, the erstwhile Left Front government decided to allot the house to then chief minister Jyoti Basu.

Even after Basu retired in 2000, he continued to stay in the bungalow, for which the party leadership paid a monthly rent of Rs.8,800.

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