Kolkata: Two days after Nobel laureate Amartya Sen thanked West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for supporting him amid a land row with Visva-Bharati University, the BJP Tuesday called Sen a “land grabber” and his letter to the CM a “poor election gimmick”.
Talking to ThePrint, state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh also described Sen as an academician, whose theories never “helped the state and the country”.
“The letter is nothing but an election gimmick engineered by Mamata Banerjee. It has no value to the people of the state. In villages, where people are suffering, who knows Amartya Sen? What did he do for the state when it was in trouble? They are all opportunists,” said Ghosh.
He further told ThePrint Banerjee is trying to hold onto everything as the ground beneath her feet is shifting.
“We will not side with dalals (agents) and jomi dakhalkari (land grabbers). They have done no good to the state and the country,” Ghosh added.
Sen had written to Banerjee on 27 December thanking the chief minister for supporting him after he was accused by Visva-Bharati, a central university, of being in “illegal” possession of land on the campus.
“I am very happy indeed to get your wonderfully supportive letter. I am not only most touched, but also very reassured that despite the busy life you have to lead, you can find time for reassuring people under attack. Your strong voice, along with your full understanding of what is going on, for me, a tremendous source of strength,” Sen wrote.
Visva Bharati Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty had in the first week of December written to Banerjee, alleging dozens of land parcels owned by the university were wrongfully recorded in the names of private parties, including Sen.
Banerjee, who has now centred her election campaign on Bengali icons and against ‘outsiders’, reacted strongly to the letter and called the BJP a party that insults eminent personalities of the state. She also said Sen was being subjected to “such vicious attack by the present university authorities because of his ideological anti-BJP stance”.
On 25 December, Banerjee wrote to Sen, apologising to him for “some nouveau invaders in Visva-Bharati” raising “baseless allegations” over his ancestral property.
Ghosh has always attacked Amartya Sen
This is not the first time that Ghosh has attacked the Nobel laureate.
Speaking at a programme in 2017, Ghosh had called people like Sen “spineless” who could be bought and sold.
Last year, during the Lok Sabha election campaign, Ghosh had called the noted economist a person who was unaware of ground realities in Bengal. He has also repeatedly questioned Sen’s contribution to the state.
Ghosh, meanwhile, also attacked Banerjee over her roadshow Tuesday in Santiniketan, where Union Home Minister Amit Shah had gone nine days ago as part of his two-day visit to the state.
“Why is the chief minister carrying Tagore’s portrait in a political rally? Was he a Trinamool member? Her picture is now failing to draw people, and that is why she tries to get sympathy. She turned Amartya Sen’s land issue into a political one and managed to get a letter praising her. These tricks will not work in elections,” he added.