Red, the colour of revolution and cherry, wine and blood, Manchester United and Harvard University, has been termed the colour of allergy in Bengal.
Mamata Banerjee's government will shortly discuss whether to change the colour of red beacon in VIP cars to green or yellow, transport minister Madan Mitra said on Monday.
Green, incidentally, is the colour of ruling Trinamool Congress.
"Red is the colour of allergy. If you have a rash, your skin turns red. But green and blue are soothing colours. If you suffer from eye problems, doctors advice you to look towards the sky or towards any green-coloured object. I feel we should get rid of red even on beacons fitted over hoods of our cars," said Madan Mitra.
Colour politics is, incidentally, not new to Bengal. Switching to colours other than red has been a trend in Bengal even before the change in regime in 2011.
While she was the railway minister between 2009 and 2011, Mamata Banerjee ordered brick red railway buildings to be painted in purple, green, blue and white. After 2011, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) painted numerous public places in the city, including police stations, park railings, road dividers and flyovers, in blue and white which are the CM's favourite colours.
Mitra said on Monday that the government is seriously considering changing the colour of beacons fitted only on the cars used by ministers and state government officials. They are going to discuss the matter in the next cabinet meeting and would make an official announcement.
Is this initiative a bid to do away with a colour that is often used as a metaphor of the Left rule in Bengal? "I have given my explanation. Now you can interpret it in your own way," added Mitra.
Political reactions varied from ridicule to outrage. "Are the party leaders going mad? Red is not a political colour? The ministers do not know what they are talking about. We are all tired of this. They have already changed numerous city walls," said Pradip Bhattacharya, president of West Bengal Pradesh Congress.
Police and motor vehicle department officials, however, said it would not be an easy task to change the colour code. The law which governs the beacon and its colours is laid down in rule 108 clause III of Central Motor Vehicles rules of 1989.
"Red colour is for VIPs and security personnel; while blue is for ambulances. Yellow and amber are internationally recognised aviation colours," said a senior police officer.