Did not sit on Tagore’s chair: Amit Shah

Minister counters Cong. MP’s allegations in Lok Sabha

Union Home Minister Amit Shah tabled a clarification in Lok Sabha on Tuesday that he did not in fact occupy the chair set aside as Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s at the museum dedicated to the latter at Vishwa Bharati University as alleged by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary during his speech in the House on Monday.

Mr. Shah produced a letter from Vishwa Bharati vice-chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty, addressed to Mr. Chowdhary, clarifying that the Union Home Minister on his visit to the university had, in fact, occupied a makeshift seating arrangement to sign the visitors book in Uttarayan, the museum dedicated to the Nobel laureate and founder of Shantiniketan, Rabindranath Tagore.

Used by presidents

The chair, according to Mr. Chakrabarty, has been used by former presidents Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee when they visited Vishwa Bharati and it was no different for Mr. Shah. The vice-chancellor also invited Mr. Chowdhary to Vishwa Bharati to “verify the same in person.”

In his speech, while making a larger point of BJP leaders not respecting national leaders of the past, Mr. Chowdhary had stated that Mr. Shah had occupied Gurudev Tagore’s seat.

Shows photographs

“Certain allegations were made against me which are factually untrue and I want to table the clarification before the House so that the record may reflect it,” said Mr. Shah. He also produced photographs of former presidents Patil and Mukherjee occupying the same seat.

In fact, said Mr. Shah, there were pictures that showed that it was former prime minister ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi who may have occupied Gurudev Tagore’s original chair and produced photographs showing the same.

Monday’s debate on the motion of thanks to the President for his address to both Houses of Parliament saw a surfeit of references to West Bengal and leaders like Tagore, Subhash Chandra Bose and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee as the BJP, the Trinamool Congress, the Congress and the Left invoked history ahead of the upcoming West Bengal Assembly polls.

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