Deshikottam controversy leaves Mamata irate
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has expressed her displeasure over the Deshikottama controversy.
This is for the first time that the Deshikottama award will not be given at the convocation of Visva Bharati University. It is a convention that the Prime Minister, who is the Chancellor of the varsity, confers the Deshikottama award. There has been no convocation in the past four years. The last Chancellor who visited the university during the convocation, was Manmohan Singh in 2008.
The Chief Minister said "Convocation is not a place for politics. It is a place of pride, it is a place of Kabiguru," adding that "The importance of the function would have been more had the Deshikottama award been conferred".
Visva Bharati's Executive Committee had cleared the names of Amitabh Bachchan, Amitav Ghosh, Gulzar, Suniti Kumar pathak, Ashok Sen and Jogen Chowdhury for the award. The names were sent to the Ministry of Human Resources for vetting. The MHRD sat on the file and neither approved nor rejected the names. Mamata Banerjee said she had come to attend the convocation with Rajiv Gandhi, when she was an MP from Jadavpur.
She said she would be present at the inauguration of Bangladesh Bhavan. Banerjee maintained that she had the finest relation with Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh and hoped that Indo-Bangladesh relation would improve.
"We are neighbours and our relationship is very deep," she said, adding that her relation with Sheikh Hasina "is not political but emotional." She said she would meet Hasina on Saturday in Kolkata and described her visit as "a courtesy call."
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will come to Visva Bharati on Friday. He will come to Andal Airport and then will fly to Visva Bharati by helicopter.
Sheikh Hasina will reach the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport at 9 pm and will leave for the venue in a helicopter as well. The convocation will start at 10.30 am and will continue till 11.55 pm. The Prime Ministers of India and Bangladesh, along with Mamata banerjee, will be present at the convocation. Then, they will go to the inauguration of Bangladesh Bhavan.
Hasina will also attend a function at Jorasanko Thakurbari. On Saturday, she will be conferred D.Litt at the convocation of Kazi Nazrul University. In the afternoon, she will attend a function at Netaji Bhavan and will meet Mamata Banerjee later.