Mamata a dictator, says Congress minister and quits (Lead)January 17th, 2012 - 10:43 pm ICT by IANS
Kolkata, Jan 17 (IANS) Ties between West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress and its ally Congress worsened further Tuesday as a Congress minister called Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee a dictator and faxed his resignation from the government to Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Angry after Banerjee clipped his wings by taking away two departments in Monday’s reshuffle, Congress Minister of State Manoj Chakraborty shot off his resignation to Sonia Gandhi, party general secretary Rahul Gandhi and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
And after a day of dramatic outburst against the chief minister, Chakraborty left the state secretariat in the evening vowing not to return as minister.
“I have faxed my resignation to our leaders. I will come back to the secretariat only as an MLA to take up people’s issues,” he thundered at the secretariat corridor.
Chakraborty said he wanted to quit the ministry as it lacked any “standing” or “stability”.
Chakraborty, who had attacked Banerjee Jan 9 when she asked the Congress to walk out of the alliance if it so desired, lost his two portfolios — parliamentary affairs and small and cottage industries. And he was made minister of state for food processing and horticulture.
“I have given not 100 percent but 200 percent as minister. And if performance is the criterion, the fact is people are raising questions about Mamata Banerjee’s performance,” said Chakraborty.
A legislator from the Congress stronghold Murshidabad, Chakraborty is also a loyalist of Banerjee’s bete noire and Congress MP Adhir Chowdhury.
“I don’t know why I was shifted. It was done with an attitude of vengeance. I don’t want to bear such insults. Dignity is most important to me.
“If the Congress has a compulsion to continue in this ministry, they should look for someone else.”
He also did not spare senior Congress leader and Minister for Irrigation Manas Bhuniya.
Accusing Bhuniya of doublespeak, Chakraborty said: “He has been repeatedly asking me to tell Pranab how much more the Congress should stay in the ministry stomaching all sorts of insults.
“But he is all sweet and honey when he comes out of the chief minister’s chamber. Actually, he is too fond of the ministerial chair,” Chakraborty said.
Adhir Chowdhury backed Chakraborty.
“The attitude of the chief minister is unacceptable. She should have consulted the Congress before shuffling the portfolio of our ministers.
“The chief minister has … a dictatorial attitude. Even Trinamool ministers have swords hanging over them. She is showing the arrogance of majority.”
Another Congress cabinet minister, Abu Hena, also from Murshidabad and a Chakraborty loyalist, lost food processing and was left with only fisheries.
State Congress leader Om Prakash Mishra called Chakraborty an “asset” for the Congress.
The Trinamool hit back.
“It is not fair to attack the chief minister and the government’s performance while you are in the ministry. One should leave the ministry before making such remarks,” said Industry Minister Partha Chattejee.
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Tags: bete noire, chakraborty, chief minister, chowdhury, compulsion, congress leader, congress president sonia gandhi, dramatic outburst, finance minister, mamata banerjee, manas, manoj, minister of state, murshidabad, parliamentary affairs, pranab mukherjee, rahul gandhi, reshuffle, state secretariat, west bengal