Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s announcement to rename Indira Bhawan in the state as Nazrul Bhavan has evoked sharp reactions from its Congress and the Opposition CPM .

Taking the issue as a matter of ‘prestige issue’, the Congress has openly flayed Mamata Banerjee-led state government for renaming Indira Bhawan. It has termed the move as a deliberate attempt to hurt the prestige of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

For years, Indira Bhavan was associated with the state’s former Chief Minister Jyoti Basu. The sprawling Salt Lake bungalow, where Jyoti Basu lived for two decades till his death, will now be called Nazrul Bhavan.

The Chief Minister on Wednesday announced at Writers' Buildings that Basu's belongings has been cleared from the building (by his party, the CPM), and that it would be turned into a museum and research centre on poet and revolutionary Kazi Nazrul Islam. The building will house primarily the poet's memorabilia, his books and research on his works.

The project on Nazrul was announced earlier, but it was not known where the research centre and museum on him would be housed.

The CPM too has expressed its unhappiness on the TMC move. Creating an unpleasant situation for the Trinamool, the CPM and the Congress shared the same dais on the issue.

Reacting to the government’s decision, Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Pradip Bhattacharjee said, “Such a move was unfortunate. How can she forget Indira Gandhi. She and the most of her ministers and MPs were in the Congress when Mrs Gandhi was the party president, adding that they did not mind if research on Nazrul Islam takes place in that building, but the name of the buildin should not be changed, he asserted.

Speaking in the same line, CPM state chief Biman Basu said, “It is a decision taken in haste and is extremely unfortunate. The building was named with a purpose.”

Notably, the TMC already had varied opinions from the Congress on issues like Lokpal Bill and FDI in retail, besides the denial of financial package to state from the Centre.

JPN/Bureau