NEW DELHI: The government’s allocation of Rs 200 crore for Sardar Patel’s statue as against Rs 150 crore for women’s safety may have led to social media outrage but that did not stop TMC and BJP MPs on Wednesday from demanding a similar statue for Swami Vivekananda.
The demand was made first by TMC MP Sudeep Bandopadhyay, who in the middle of criticizing the budget in Lok Sabha, said, “You have allocated Rs 200 crore for Sardar Patel statue. Why not allocate a similar amount for Swami Vivekananda. He was also a tall leader of the country who died at the early age of 39. Only recently, PM Narendra Modi visited the Ram Krishna Ashram. We suggest to the government that a similar statue (as that of Patel) be erected of Vivekananda in Kolkata.”
As soon as Bandopadhyay mentioned the issue, BJP MPs started thumping the desk in unison and said it was a good idea which would be implemented. However, none of the senior BJP leaders issued any statement to the effect in the House.
The government’s announcement on the Patel statue had attracted severe criticism both from political circles and the public as allocations for several other important schemes such as women’s safety in cities and ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme were seen to be far less and insufficient.
While women’s safety was allocated Rs 150 crore, ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ scheme was given Rs 100 crore. Taking potshots at the government, Twitterati went on to compare finance minister Arun Jaitley with Mayawati. Most seemed to suggest that the government had got its priorities wrong. BJP, on its part, defended the decision by saying the statue was a symbol of unity.
Bandopadhyay started his speech by holding Jaitley’s budget in one hand and former finance minister P Chidambaram’s in the other and said that not only did they look alike in shape, colour and size but also in content. “If I exchange them, no one would know who made which budget,” Bandopadhyay said.
He also said the eastern region of the country had been neglected since independence and even the budget had given it a raw deal. He asked for government help to deal with Rs 2 lakh crore debt crisis that West Bengal is facing due to the “34 year misrule of the Left Front”.
He criticized the government’s FDI proposal in insurance and defence and questioned BJP’s credentials as a nationalist party.