Agartala, Apr 11 (PTI) It is the end of the road — literally — for Marx and Engels in Tripura, with its new BJP-led government rechristening a prominent street after ideologue Syama Prasad Mookerjee, erasing the names of the two Left icons.
Marx-Engels Sarani (or street) was the name of a road leading to the official residences of the chief minister and his Cabinet colleagues here.
A new plaque has been placed there by the administration of the BJP-led government, which came to power after 25 years of Left rule in the state.
The order to change the name to Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Road was issued by the Department of Urban Development, which is under Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb.
Agartala Municipal Corporation (AMC) commissioner Sailesh Kumar Jadav said the order was passed on Monday and the plaque bearing the road’s old name removed yesterday.
The previous Left Front government led by Manik Sarkar had named the road after the Marxist stalwarts 20 years ago.
The CPI(M) took strong exception to the move and termed it “illegal”, while the saffron party said it would continue to highlight “nationalistic views in all spheres of life”.
The name of the Jan Sangh founder was written in English, Bengali, Hindi and the Tripuri people’s Kokborok language on the new board.
“Such a decision has been taken,” said Pranajit Singha Roy, spokesperson of the council of ministers referring to the renaming.
CPI(M) mouthpiece ‘Daily Desher Katha’ said the move to change the name was “illegal” since such decisions were the prerogative of the municipal body.
“The BJP-IPFT government has changed the name illegally. Any road can be named after Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee. But removing the names of Marx and Engels was unfair,” it said today.
The corporation is run by the CPI(M)-led Left Front.
Mayor Prafullajit Sinha said the right to rename a road in a corporation area did not lie solely with the civic body.
“If the government wants to change a road’s name, they can change it,” he said.
BJP state in-charge Sunil Deodhar welcomed the government’s decision and said there was “no need” for Marx and Engels in Tripura.
“Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee is a well known Indian personality. Communists have spoiled the state’s social and cultural fabric for a long time. I appreciate the government for its decision to change the name.
“We would now highlight nationalistic view in all spheres of life,” Deodhar told reporters.
The BJP and its ally, the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura, swept to power in the state, winning 44 seats in the the 60-member Assembly in elections held in February.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.