Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will not miss herself when she will be attending the Republic Day parade in Kolkata on Saturday. After all, out of the nine tableaus that will roll out on Red Road, five will carry huge images of the Chief Minister, thereby posing the question whether the celebration of national festival has also become a tool for the Trinamool Congress government to use it as a publicity campaign for the party.
A total of 19 photographs of Mamata Banerjee are exhibited by the five tableaus. Apart from the Chief Minister, photographs of other ministers like Commerce and Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee and Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim have found places on the tableaus of various departments. The tableau of Kolkata Police tops the list as it displays 12 photographs of Mamata Banerjee including two which are more than ten feet tall.
The tableau of the state commerce and industry department carries photographs of the Chief Minister lighting the lamp during the inauguration of the second edition of Bengal Leads, an investment summit, held in Haldia last week.
The tableaus of three departments - Disaster Management, Tourism and Youth Affairs, and that of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) — however, are the exception. They don’t carry the photographs of the Chief Minister.
Debjit Ghosh, who designed the tableau of the tourism department, said he was not instructed to display the Chief Minister’s photograph. “There was no instruction from the higher ups of the department to display the CM’s photograph in our tableau and this is why we did not use her photograph,” a tourism department official said.
Artists giving final touches to the tableaus, which “highlight the success stories of the Trinamool government”, said it takes anything between Rs 4 to Rs 4.5 lakh to decorate one tableau. The per day rent of the vehicle is somewhere around Rs 7,000. “If the minimum cost of decoration is considered as Rs 4 lakh. It works up to at least Rs 36 lakh for the state exchequer to have spent on the decorate the tableau,” an official who was inspecting the tableau of his department told The Indian Express.
CPM leader and former chief minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, had recently slammed the Trinamool Congress chief for lavishly flaunting her photographes on government-sponsored billboards. “I have never used my photographs in any government advertisement because money comes to the government coffer from