A photograph of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alongside stalwarts of Bengal, including revolutionary hero Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Nobel laureate poet Rabindra Nath Tagore, on a giant flex at the heart of the Kolkata's information technology hub has sparked outrage among people.
The flex bearing the title "Famous Bengali legends" near a busy crossing at Sector 5 in Salt Lake contains pictures in two rows of 13 eminent people from the 19th and 20th century from fields such as literature, the country's freedom struggle, social and religious reform movements, science and politics. The 14th and last photo in the lower row is that of Mamata Banerjee.
Among those whose photos appear in the flex are Bengali socio-religious reformer Ram Mohan Roy, Bengali polymath and introducer of widow remarriage in Bengal Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, author of India's national song Vande Mataram Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, legendary Bengali poets Tagore, Michael Madhusudan Dutt and Kazi Najrul Islam, famous Bengali physicist Satyendra Nath Bose and scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose.
Nineteenth century ascetic Ramakrishna Paramhansa, his disciple and founder of Ramakrishna Mission Swami Vivekananda, freedom fighter Chittaranjan Das, and former state chief minister Bidhan Chandra Roy also figure in the list.
The Chief Minister's photograph finding its place besides such colossal figures, and that too under the caption "Famous Bengali Legends" has triggered protests on the internet.
"This is too much. Mamata Banerjee may be the most popular leader in West Bengal now, but to include her in the same bracket as such legends, isn't that too much?" asked Sudhirti Chowdhury, a college student.
Bidhannagar municipality chairperson Krishna Chakraborty said the area where the flex appears was outside the purview of the civic body.
State Fire Services Minister Sujit Bose denied the existence of the flex. "I don't know any such flex has been put up. I have no idea about its existence. How can I comment on something unless I can confirm that it exists?"
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