As Mamata says ‘all cooked up’, Marxists hit road (West Bengal Newsletter)

March 4th, 2012 - 4:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, March 4 (IANS) With West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee drawing flak for her penchant to dub recent incidents of crime as “staged”, bitter rival Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) is back to flexing its muscles through well-attended public rallies, sending the state’s political temperature soaring.

Nine months into her stint at the helm of affairs in the state, Banerjee has already been given the nickname ’shajano’ (staged) by a local newspaper for calling the incidents of alleged rape and violence as ’staged’.

Pouncing on the opportunity to embarrass its bĂȘte noire, the CPI-M - buoyed by the success of its huge ‘Brigade Parade ground rally Feb 19 - has hit the roads, literally, taking out massive processions against the alleged attack on one of its offices by Trinamool Congress workers and the “efforts” to arrest a party functionary on “trumped up charges”.

While the Trinamool Congress-led government went all out to foil a nationwide strike called by trade unions and supported by the Left Front, some overzealous party workers allegedly attacked a Marxist office and assaulted some scribes in the process.

Amid all the media frenzy about the assault on the journalists, Banerjee who earlier had to eat her words after calling an alleged rape of an Anglo-Indian woman as ‘cooked up’, uttered the chosen phrase again to describe the attack, attracting much criticism.

“It is a cooked up incident. Some people have a habit of creating cooked up cases… It is just a part of the TRP race (among TV channels). If a journalist is really attacked, we will take action. But it is a framed case,” she said.

At the same media meet, Banerjee described the alleged rape of a woman in Katwa of Burdwan as a ‘cooked up’ case.

In an apparent effort at not losing the momentum, the CPI-M held a protest rally headed by former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee in Jadavpur Wednesday. Quick to react, the Trinamool Congress announced two road-shows on the same route giving the people the unusual prospect of a chief minister hitting the streets against her predecessor.

While one roadshow led by the party’s heavyweights was held Thursday, the second one headed by Banerjee was held Saturday.

However, Banerjee began her rally from where Bhattacharjee’s procession terminated and concluded it at his starting point.

On Saturday, the Left Front took out a rally at Rajarhat protesting against what it described as efforts on the part of the administration to “frame” the chairman of a municipality and party leader in a “trumped up” charge.

Banerjee’s nephew too has turned out to be a newsmaker following an alleged brawl with a cop, resulting in his arrest and subsequent release. However, Banerjee who decided to follow ‘Rajdharma’ had him rearrested.

The Marxists were quick to latch on to the issue and criticise the ‘misrule’, contending that the police had initially let off Akash Banerjee after he flaunted his blood connection at the Watgunge police station.

It was alleged that Akash was finally arrested and had to spend two days behind bars after the media picked up the incident and highlighted it through Wednesday. On the other hand, Trinamool leaders described the chief minister’s interference as an example that the rule of law flourished in the state.

Amid the government bashing by the opposition and a section of the media, the Calcutta High Court during a hearing pulled up the state for delayed submission of autopsy reports of CPI-M leaders allegedly killed by Trinamool Congress supporters.

(Anurag Dey can be contacted at deyvil@gmail.com)

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