The opposition parties Thursday slammed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for deciding to skip the Question Hour in the Assembly on Friday yet again, saying she has set a dangerous trend of neglecting the legislature.
After assuming power, the Trinamool Congress government had earmarked Fridays for the chief minister to attend the Assembly and answer questions under her departments, primarily the home department.
But in the last three years, Mamata never took or answered any question about the home department. So much so, that questions put up by members to the home ministry on law and order or other matters related to the department are not even entertained.
After the budget session began on June 20, Mamata visited the House on three occasions —- once to take part in the debate on home ministry, once to make a statement on killings of TMC workers at Raidighi and CEO of Northbrook jute mill, and lastly to speak on an all-party resolution condemning the railway fare hike.
“In my 30 years as an MLA, I have never seen a chief minister who does not take questions on her department. What kind of a minister is she? I have seen Jyoti Basu and Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee as chief minister. We had our difference of opinion but they took the Assembly seriously and always answered the questions. We put up questions regarding home ministry, but they are rejected. It is a frustrating situation,” Manas Bhuina, Congress MLA and a former minister in the state government, told The Indian Express.
The ongoin session has already seen opposition staging walkouts on a couple of occasions protesting against the CM’s habit of avoiding the Assembly.
“We have seen CMs skipping the Assembly, but what do we do if she remains absent. We will keep protesting,” Anisur Rehman, deputy leader of the Left Front, told The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, the Opposition again staged a walkout from the Assembly after their demand for a discussion on law and order in the state following the death of a hotel owner in Howrah town allegedly due to a threat call by a local gangster was rejected.
Bhunia and some other members moved an adjournment motion demanding a discussion on the issue, but Speaker Biman Banerjee rejected it, but yet allowed him to read it out.
The Speaker turned down the request of Congress Legislature Party leader Md Sohrab for discussion on the issue since no arrest had been made despite complaints by the victim’s family and the hotel manager.
Unhappy with the decision of the Speaker, all Congress members walked out of the House till recess.
Describing law and order in the state as ‘alarming’, Bhunia later told reporters outside the House that police inaction on the issue had raised a big question mark on the state government’s attitude.
Alleging that gangsters of the ruling party had taken law and order in their own hands in Howrah across the river where state secretariat ‘Nabanna’ was located, Bhunia wondered about the same in other parts of the state.
Bhunia questioned that if a hotel owner died after being threatened over phone and a jute mill CEO was killed within the mill premises and police failed to take action, how would investors come to the state and where would Chief Minister’s plan for industrialisation stand.
Sohrab said that the scenario revealed the condition of law and order in the state.