The dismantling of a statue of the Russian Communist Vladimir Lenin in Tripura, where a BJP alliance has ended 25 years of Left rule, divided India’s political class on Tuesday.
Predictably, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was furious. Its Politburo said the destruction of the statue was “symbolic of the rabid anti-Communist, anti-democratic fascistic character” of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the parent organisation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP.
The view of Tripura’s Governor was rather different.
The CPI-M also accused the RSS and the BJP of having unleashed “unprecedented violence and arson” across Tripura after the assembly election’s result was declared on Saturday. “CPI(M) and Left Party offices and cadres are targeted with murderous assaults,” it said.
Removals of Lenin statues aren’t unprecedented in history: As a New York Times article (titled ‘How To Pull Down a Statue’) notes, hundreds of Lenin statues were pulled down in Ukraine as recently as in 2014.
In West Bengal, where Politburo members marched in protest, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said her party did not “accept” what had happened in Tripura.
“We also have come to power by defeating CPI-M after 34 years but we never did any thing like this, because our slogan was “Bodala noi Badol chai” (Not revenge, but change),” said Banerjee, a vocal political opponent of the CPI-M, at a rally in Patrasayar.
“You all have come to power just three days back and it does not means that you will demolish the statue of Lenin and others. We do not accept it,” she said.
Sharad Yadav, an MP, said the demolition of the statue was an attack on India’s freedom movement.