Deputy Speaker of the West Bengal Assembly, Sonali Guha, on Thursday got embroiled in a controversy as she threatened a doctor from Howrah — involved in a feud with his neighbour, who is a Trinamool Congress supporter — of dire consequences if he did not vacate his flat.
“Jaada fot fot nehi korna, Bohut time se fot fot shuna hai… aisa karega to flat me chabi laga denge… (Don’t talk too much, I have heard a lot about it… if you do like this, I will put your flat under lock and key.) I am the chief minister’s man, I am the government… don’t forget it,’’ Guha told flatowner Dr Ramendra Rai at Golabari in Howrah Wednesday evening.
Sources said the incident took place when Guha — MLA from Satgachia in South-24 Parganas — responded to a call from party member Vedprakash Tewary, the resident of a housing complex who had a fight with Rai over the use of an elevator.
Guha reportedly rushed there from her residence at College Square in Kolkata late and confronted Rai.
Though despite repeated attempts, Guha was not available for comment, she told a couple of TV channels it was not her voice in the video and that she went there, not as a deputy speaker, but as a mother. “I stood by the family because there were women who needed medical attention and who could not use the elevator. They (Rai) were all BJP people. Seeing their plight, the monster in me made an appearance…” she said.
Guha added: “I said I am the chief minister’s man because of course I am her ‘man’. I had been always her ‘man’ and will remain her ‘man’ all throughout my life. And since I am in the government, so I said was the ‘government’. What’s wrong with that?”
The incident evoked severe criticism from all quarters, even from Governor Kesari Nath Tripathy. “In a democracy, everybody has the freedom to speak freely but we have to maintain decorum and etiquette,’’ Tripathy said when told about the incident by mediapersons at the sidelines of a function.
The Trinamool Congress too did not seem to have taken the incident kindly. “The incident has come to our notice. Mukul Roy (general secretary), Subrata Bakshi (party state president), Subrata Mukherjee (minister for panchayats) and I will discuss on the next course of action,’’ said Minister for Education and party spokesman Partha Chatterjee, who had reportedly called Guha to inquire into the matter.
While Left Front Chairman Biman Basu said her statement showed arrogance, former Speaker Hasim Abdul Halim said Guha’s action denigrated the Assembly.
“She holds a constitutional post and her action has definitely lowered the image of the Assembly. She just cannot do it. She could have called the police,’’ Hallim told The Indian Express.