KOLKATA: In a show of political vendetta of the worst kind, the TMC government of West Bengal created obstacles in commemoration of the 98th birth anniversary of communist leader and former chief minister Jyoti Basu, as former Left Front MLAs and ministers were barred from entering the
Bengal assembly on
Sunday, July 8, to observe the occasion. This was despite the leader of
opposition, Suryakanta Mishra’s request to the speaker, Biman Bandyopadhyay, in
this regard. Basu’s birthday falls on July 8.
Surprisingly, the Trinamul-led government had ‘observed’ Basu’s birth anniversary on Friday, July 6 --- two days before the date, even after strong reactions from different quarters. The Left Front MLAs had therefore chosen to stay away from the July 6 event, arguing that the ruling party was dishonouring the departed leader by observing the occasion two days in advance.
What happened on Sunday afternoon was that when Left leaders reached the north gate of the assembly building, the
Marshalls said former MLAs could not enter the
house without permission. Leader of opposition Suryakanta Mishta then called up
the speaker, Biman Bandyopadhyay, and asked him to allow the former MLAs to go
inside the assembly building.
“Are the former MLAs criminals?” Mishra asked the speaker over phone while informing him that some of those who had assembled were elected way back in 1971. But when the speaker denied to entertain Mishra’s request, the Left leaders decided to garland a portrait of Basu outside the assembly building’s north gate.
This was because Left Front MLAs and former MLAs chose to pay their tributes to Jyoti Basu on the pavement outside the gates of the assembly building where a photo of him was placed. Misra stood on a chair and spoke in the occasion. He said, “Jyoti Basu was the voice of democracy. The ruling party in
Bengal is afraid of
this very democracy. But we will take the ideas of Jyoti Basu to the people.”
Describing the developments as “unparliamentary,” former speaker Hasim Abdul Halim, who also stood outside the assembly buiding, said that it was “disrespectful to the democratic norms of the house.” Halim recalled that it was here that millions had paid their last tributes to Comrade Jyoti Basu after his demise.
Subhash Naskar, RSP MLA, expressed his strong displeasure against the attitude of the ruling party.