West Bengal chief minister Mamta Banerjee is a bit of an artist. She is now turning Kolkata, the state’s biggest city and its capital, into her canvass. The city’s municipal corporation, run by her party, has been painting its buildings and public infrastructure in her favourite colours—blue and white.
Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress came to power in 2011, ending a 34-year-old rule of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), during which parts of Kolkata (named Calcutta till 2001) and its landmark buildings were painted red, the colour of the CPIM flag. After Trinamool Congress’ rise to power, the city gradually started changing colour.
The blue and white colour scheme is apparently the chief minister’s favourite. She is often seen wearing white saris with blue hues. Inaugurating a river-front beautification project, she remarked: “blue and white signifies happiness and the city looks bright in this colour scheme”.
Earlier this year, The Kolkata Municipal Corporation introduced a proposal to give a one-year holiday in property taxes to households that painted themselves blue and white, sparking off strong protests from the opposition. While that is yet to be settled, Kolkata’s transition into blue and white is progressing rapidly.