By Ajanta Chakraborty, TNN Jul 7, 2012, 03.31AM IST
KOLKATA: Indira Bhavan, where the former chief minister of the state Jyoti Basu lived for over two decades till his death in 2010, may soon house the judicial panels set up by the new government.
Named after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the building became a bone of contention between the two allies of the UPA — Congress and Trinamool — when CM Mamata Banerjeehad proposed to rename it as Nazrul Bhavan and set up a museum and research centre on the poet and revolutionary.
Having burnt her fingers on the original plan, the chief minister is now going cautious before finalizing any proposal related to the two-storey building. Earlier In May, Banerjee had laid to rest the controversy surrounding the renaming of Indira Bhavan, by announcing that her government would set up "Nazrul Tirtha" at Rajarhat on the northern fringes of the city and Indira Bhavan would be left alone for the time being.
It was named after Indira Gandhi as she had stayed there during an AICC conference in the 70s. Former chief minister Jyoti Basu started living there in the 80s after shifting out of his ancestral Hindustan Park house. The Left Front government had then passed a notification allowing Basu to stay there during his lifetime.
The Left Front had decided to set up a museum there and dedicate it to Basu, but failed to do so due to stiff resistance from the Trinamool Congress. Mamata, too, couldn't stick to her earlier decision of converting it to Nazrul Bhavan as the Pradesh Congress raised a hue and cry.
Senior Congress leaders claimed that her decision was a deliberate attempt to wipe out the memory of the former prime minister.
Insiders said the new proposal to house the judicial commissions is naturally being treated with care. The new government has set up various judicial panels after coming to power, but these autonomous bodies have not been able to function for want of office space. Officials at Writers' Buildings said that in a recent cabinet meeting, the chief minister had casually mentioned the plan before Congress minister Manas Bhuniya. "She asked him if the bungalow could be used as a guesthouse. Then she proposed that the spacious building could come handy at a time when the government is looking for space for the judicial commissions," said a minister on conditions of anonymity. Urban development minister Firhad Hakim has been asked to proceed with the proposal, since Indira Bhavan is under the urban development department.
Left boycotts Basu b'day celebrations at assembly
Former chief minister Jyoti Basu's 96th birthday was "officially" celebrated in the state assembly on Friday — two days ahead of his original birthday — with CM Mamata Banerjee leading TMC legislators and a lone Congress MLA to pay their respect to Bengal's longest serving chief minister and his own party colleagues staying away in protest. Opposition leader Surjya Kanta Mishra has already informed the speaker that they would pay their tribute to Basu on July 8, opposing the "trend" to celebrate birthdays of eminent personalities ahead of schedule.