Kolkata: The library department of Bengal government has decided that now on only Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s photograph can be put up on the entry gate to book fairs organised in the state.
This is despite a massive controversy over covering entire Nandan campus in Kolkata with Chief Minister’s photographs during the recently concluded Kolkata International Film Festival.
The state mass education and library department minister, Siddiqullah Chowdhury, today told reporters that the new directive is applicable to those book fairs that are funded by the state government.
“We have told all the book fair committees that on one arm of the gate there shall be Biswa Bangla logo and on the other arm there should be the logo of our department. Also, now on, only Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s photograph can be put on the gate and not of anyone else,” Chowdhury said.
The minister added that from this year, allotting 10 per cent of stalls in a book fair to linguistic minority and Dalit groups has been made mandatory. This is to ensure that such groups get a chance to showcase their publications, he said.
Throughout winter, Bengal library department holds book fairs in all the district headquarters and in some sub-divisional headquarters as well. The general tendency in such book fairs is to put up photographs of legendary Bengali authors on the entry gate and the logo and name of the organising committees.
In some cases, politically over-enthusiast committees also put up photographs of a local minister and library minister but such instances are few and far between.
Now, with the new diktat, the organisers will be compelled to put up Mamata Banerjee’s photograph alone. The minister has not, however, clarified whether the organisers have the liberty of not putting up anyone’s photograph on the gate.
In 2012, Mamata government had dropped several newspapers that are critical of her party from the subscription list of the state government libraries.