With the three-day closing ceremony of the platinum jubilee celebrations of the West Bengal Assembly kick starting today amid absence of the Opposition parties,Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched a severe attack on them,saying they have,in fact tarnished the image of the Assembly as well as of the people from the state in the eyes of the foreigners.
In politics there is something called courtesy,which was not shown by the Opposition. The Left boycotted the Assembly for five years (1972 to 1977) claiming that the government was not elected. Now they did not come this time. So you come when it suits you and you dont when it doesnt – that is not acceptable. Democracy does not mean rigidity or dogma. It is not about flaunting placards every day. Assembly is for debate and discussion,it is a place where you can raise your voice, the chief minister said,and thanked MLAs and SUCI present in the assembly for attending the session.
Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar spoke on Challenges before Democracy,saying that even though its a slow process,its the best form of government, after Governor M K Narayanan had delivered the keynote address earlier.
The Speaker praised Mamata for her work and determination,and pointed out Bengals contribution in various fields. I was born in a village in Bihar where my father (Babu Jagjivan Ram) launched an agitation against the oppression of the downtrodden. Later he came to Kolkata and got into politics, she said.
The Governor,while insisting on the need to have tolerance in a democracy,remarked that those who have not attended the session must be feeling sad. Before the Governors address,members of the Treasury Bench occupied seats of the Opposition benches so that the House would not look empty on one side.
Earlier,Opposition Leader in the Assembly Suryakanta Mishra had written to President Pranab Mukherjee,explaining the Left Fronts position on boycotting of the ceremony. The ruling party (TMC) has pushed us to an edge,leaving us with no other option but to remain absent from the Assembly, Mishra said.
Congress Legislature Party leader Md Sohrab,too,wrote about having to take tough decisions in view of the rigid position taken by the ruling party.
Samajwadi Partys lone MLA Chand Mohammad,meanwhile,created a flutter when he,despite signing the Left Front memorandum to the Speaker explaining their absence,attended the session,inviting praise from the CM.
I signed the memorandum without understanding it. I attended the session under the instructions of my leaders, he later said.