Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed regret over the protests faced by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee from Left activists outside the Planning Commission’s office here on Tuesday – she wagged her finger at a clearly surprised Montek Singh Ahluwalia when she meet him after reaching his office and thereafter put the blame on everyone concerned with the security apparatus. Indicating that this was not enough to placate her,Mamata cancelled her meet with P. Chidambaram and flew back to Kolkata today.
Hours after facing the ire of the Left activists at the Planning Commission,Banerjee had also cancelled her appointment last evening with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,who expressed regret over the incident.
As Mitra was hospitalised at the AIIMS last evening and kept under observation,Singh spoke to Banerjee after her office called up the PMO to cancel the meeting scheduled with him saying she was unwell and her blood pressure had dipped.
The Prime Minister also enquired about her well-being,sources close to the chief minister said.
They said the meeting with Chidambaram and a press conference she was to address in the evening have been cancelled.
Banerjee and Mitra were the target of the wrath of CPI-M and its students’ wing SFI’s activists who were protesting the death of their comrade Sudipta Gupta in police custody in Kolkata last week.
Some Trinamool Congress workers,led by party leader Mukul Roy,also staged a protest gathering at Jantar Mantar here.
Giving a new twist to the incident,Trinamool MP Sukhendu Shekar Roy claimed it was a “murderous attack” on Banerjee.
“It was a murderous attempt on the life of Mamata and three other Cabinet ministers,especially Amit Mitra,” Roy told reporters here,adding that it was “a pre-planned attack on the eve of Panchayat Elections to create a situation so that the demand for central forces can be justified.”
At the same time,he sidestepped questions on the attack by Trinamool Congress activists on CPI(M) offices and workers across West Bengal.
“That is a wild allegation against us. Nowhere in this country during the 34 year misrule of Left Front more than 60,000 innocent people were butchered. Don’t compare this incident with that genocide,” he said to questions on the attacks by Trinamool Congress activists in Bengal.
Condemning the attack,Roy claimed that the police had remained silent onlookers when CPI-M and SFI activists “roughed up Mitra and no arrests has been made yet.”
He claimed that the protests at Planning Commission yesterday was not a demonstration by students as “there were many hired goons above the age of 40.”
In the incident,while the Chief Minister was shielded by policemen,it was left to Mitra’s lot to face the anger of the activists who were protesting the death of SFI member Sudipta Gupta.
The 65-year-old Finance Minister was pushed and jostled around as he tried to enter the Yojna Bhawan building.