Differences among political leaders were responsible for the distorted version of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh’s features in the statue installed in the Parliament House complex.
“Leaders from Punjab wanted to donate the martyr’s statue to Parliament but this was countered by Left leaders who said they had collected funds to make the statue,” a member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Portraits and Statues told the Hindustan Times.
“Lack of unanimity led to a clash among the statue lobbyists, which certainly diverted attention from the crucial issue of how the statue should look when ready,” he said.
The comments came a day after the martyr’s family members and historians raised serious objections on his bronze statue, saying it did not portray the martyr’s correct image.
The statue was made by well-known sculptor by Ram Sutar on the guidelines of the joint parliamentary committee. CPI(M) deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Mohammad Salim and Congress MP MS Gill are learnt to have made the offers from the two sides. The issue cropped up before Gill became Sports Minister.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had last year offered to bear the entire cost of installation of the statue. Gill merely said, “It was important for the country’s Parliament to recognise the sacrifice of Bhagat Singh. Beyond that I would not react on whatever is being spread. I was not a member of the joint committee.”
A Kolkata-based organisation named after Bhagat Singh and headed by Salim had collected more than Rs 1 crore for the purpose, the CPI(M) MP said.
The issue was reportedly resolved after Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee intervened by offering to pay for the statue from Parliament funds. Slamming the final version of the statue, Salim said, “It was bound to happen since nobody bothered to check the historical facts related to the martyr’s appearance.”