West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee put investment bankers and stock brokers to shame after she announced how much she is making of her paintings. On Sunday, campaigning for the Kolkata municipal polls, Didi said her paintings fetched Rs 9 crore. That’s a 450% growth from what she herself said barely 48 hours ago. On Friday, the amount was just Rs 2 crore. Whoa!
On Sunday Didi said, “Nearly 300 paintings of mine were sold in two or three exhibitions and Rs 9 crore was earned in total, each of them costing Rs 3 lakh. Besides, I have distributed nearly 600 paintings free of cost.” (sic)
Rewind to Friday.
In two or three exhibitions where around 250-300 paintings were showcased, we received Rs 2 crore something from the sale. None of my paintings sold for Rs 2 crore. Only one painting sold for Rs 20 lakh. There were some paintings that sold for between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 5 lakh.
It’s well known that Mamata fancies herself as a painter. It’s this avatar of Mamatadi that has drawn the CBI’s attention. Recently, the CBI sent a notice to the TMC, raising questions on the sale of the paintings and the party’s financial details between 2010 and 2014.
But, why are the sale of these paintings so important? It is believed that one of her “masterpieces” was sold for ₹ 1.8 crore, and the plucky buyer was none other than Sudipto Sen, chairman of the Saradha Group, who has been in police custody since April 2013 for his central role in the Saradha scam. Sudipta Sen, obviously, denies buying Mamata’s paintings.
While Didi figures out her priceless comments, it’s worth taking a second look at Mamata’s “fine” art. As is often said, a painting is a window to the painter’s heart –