Schools, colleges and universities in West Bengal will participate in the Centre’s year-long celebration on the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.
Earlier, the education department had planned on celebrating the occasion in its own way. But back then, the government refused to co-operate with the Centre.
It was reluctant to be part and parcel of any programme, project or new schemes that the Centre had offered for West Bengal’s participation.
Going along with the temperament of his party boss, education minister Partha Chatterjee was also in favour of separate celebration plans as the government had earlier done for Swami Vivekananda 150th birth anniversary as well as the 125th anniversary since his famous Chicago speech.
However, Chatterjee today attended a meet convened by Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and seven other university vice chancellors over how educational institutions plan to celebrate Gandhiji’s birthday.
After the meeting, Chatterjee said the state would go by the template set by the Centre.
When asked about this change in plan, Chatterjee said rather candidly that unlike the previous occasion, this time the Governor and the Centre sought to involve him and his opinions regarding the plans and programmes.
“Now they want our participation and we will participate,” he said in a very matter of fact manner.
But whether this bonhomie will extend to other spheres of cooperative federalism is still a big question.
Whether Chatterjee’s individual opinion or views will stand once Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee returns from Germany and Italy is another niggling worry.
According to political pundits, Chatterjee wouldn’t have had the courage to go to the Governor’s meeting and make such an announcement without a green signal from Mamata Banerjee.