‘Count me as your sister’: Mamata Banerjee reaches out to Amartya Sen amid ‘land grab’ charges
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday wrote to Amartya Sen, expressing solidarity with the Nobel laureate after his name cropped up among those allegedly occupying land belonging to the prestigious Visva-Bharati University, news agency ANI reported. In an apparent reference to the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Banerjee wrote that some “nouveau invaders” in Visva-Bharati “have now started raising surprising and completely baseless allegations.”
“I write this letter to express my surprise and anguish over some recent developments, as I read about them in media, alluding to your ancestral links in Santiniketan,” Banerjee said in her letter to Sen. Banerjee also mentioned the Sen family’s links with Santiniketan, the location of Visva-Bharati University, stating that it’s a family “weaved in the culture and fabric of Santiniketan, inalienably.”
Taking a veiled dig at the BJP, Banerjee also noted how “pained” she is at these “surprising and baseless” allegations about Sen’s familial properties. She added that she wanted to express her solidarity with him in his battles against the “bigotry of the majoritarians” in the country. The West Bengal CM then urged Sen to count her as his “sister and friend,” adding that he shouldn’t be daunted by these accusations. “We shall overcome,” she said in her letter.
Banerjee’s letter to Sen comes a day after she was accused by the BJP of “skipping” the centenary year celebrations of the university, which were addressed by prime minister Narendra Modi. The chief minister’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) responded, claiming that she “wasn’t invited” for the ceremony.
The episode has emerged as the latest flashpoint between the two parties as the BJP aims to defeat the TMC in next year’s assembly polls to end Banerjee’s 10-year term as the chief minister, and, in the process, form its maiden government in West Bengal.
The Visva-Bharati University was established on December 23, 1924, by India’s first Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore.
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