On a day which witnessed a fierce political slugfest between over Swami Vivekananda’s birth anniversary celebration, TMC has called for a statue of the Hindu monk worth Rs 300 crore.

Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay and state minister Sashi Panja paid floral tributes to Vivekananda at his residence in North Kolkata on Tuesday.

While addressing the press following that, Bandyopadhyay said, “Today we need to circulate Swami Vivekananda’s ideals as widely as possible. Every citizen of India needs to be aware of his teachings.”

“Since I stay in Delhi, I have a good contact with BJP’s central leaders. I saw some of them here today. I told them that if a statue of Rs 3000 crore can be built for Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, why can’t a statue worth Rs 300 crore be built for Vivekananda,” he added.

The TMC leaders were also seen taking a jibe at BJP for raising ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ slogan at Vivekananda’s statue on his 158th birth anniversary.

“You need to be aware of place, time and situation. Today is Swami Vivekananda’s birth anniversary. This is not a political space. We could have shouted ‘Vande Mataram’ but we didn’t,” Bandyopadhyay said.

Suvendu Adhikari led the BJP camp to Vivekananda’s home in north Kolkata’s Shimla Street early in the morning. The TMC-turned-BJP leader paid floral tributes to Vivekananda’s statue.

Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya followed suit and garlanded the sculpture of Swami Vivekananda with flowers.

Interestingly, common citizens were barred by the administration from going to Vivekananda’s Shimla Street residence, citing concerns related to COVID-19 pandemic.

A towering spiritual philosopher, Vivekananda, was born in 1863 in Kolkata and is credited for popularising the Vedantic ideas. Taking to Twitter, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, who is scheduled to visit Swamiji’s ancestral house during the day to pay tributes, said, “Youth empowerment is key to Bharat becoming Vishwa Guru (world leader).”

Paying tributes to Swamiji, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “His message of peace and universal brotherhood is of utmost relevance today and inspires all of us to strive hard in safeguarding these ideals in our beloved nation.” Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha, said the spirit that the great saint imparted to the world is eternal. “The solution of all human problems lies in his noble and divine thoughts,” Mr Chowdhury wrote on the microblogging site.