Trinamool boycotts E-W Metro inauguration as didi 'ignored'

Kolkata, Feb 13: Alleging that its supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been "ignored" at the inauguration of the East West Metro, the state's ruling Trinamool Congress on Thursday decided to boycott the programme.

The much-awaited project is slated to be inaugurated by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday evening. The metro authorities, however, invited local MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, local legislator Sujit Bose and Chairperson of the Bidhannagar Municipality Krishna Chakraborty, whose names figured in the invitation card.

But the Trinamool Congress took strong exception to Banerjee's name being not there on the card.

Senior Trinamool and state Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim described it as an "uncivilised act".

"Every metro project here, be it the East West metro, or Airport Metro, all of them were planned by Mamata Banerjee. She got these projects sanctioned when she was Railway Minister. The work on East west Metro was also being done by Union and state Urban Development Ministries.

"Mamata Banerjee had then handed it over to railways. She had fast tracked it," said Hakim.

"Today, I am surprised that she has not been invited. There cannot be a more uncivilised act than the state Chief Minister, who had also planned the project, being ignored and the state government kept in the dark during the inauguration.

"The roads on which the East-West metro will run are all under the supervision of the state Urban Development Department. The state government made these roads free of encumbrances.

"As per the Chief Minister's directive, I have waived a lot of fees and charges concerning these metro projects," he said.

Dastidar said how they could go to the programme when Banerjee herself was ignored.

"If Banerjee is kept away from the inauguration of a project she had planned, why should we be there? There is no question of us attending it. Not inviting Banerjee shows their lack of courtesy," she said.

Chakraborty said she was busy with a number of other important programmes scheduled for the past three months.

Union Minister Babul Supriyo, however, hoped those whose names are printed on the invite would grace the function.

"When Mamata Banerjee was Railway Minister, she had promised to complete it as a central project. But the project got stalled for four years," said Supriyo.

"Hakim's name is there on the invite. The names of local MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar, and local legislator Sujit Bose are also there. I hope they will attend the programme. In the interest of the state, we should leave aside our politics. It's a great day for all of us," he said.

However, contrary to Supriyo's claim, Hakim's name was not there on the card.

State BJP President Dilip Ghosh said Banerjee deserves such treatment as she has never shown any respect to anybody.

"We have maintained protocol by inviting the people's representatives - MP, MLA, chairperson of the civic body of the area where the function is taking place.

"Why does Mamata Banerjee indulge in didigiri everywhere? Why should she be called? Has she shown any respect to anybody ever? Does she ever call our MPs, MLAs and councillors at state government programmes?

"Do opposition leaders find place in any state panel? On the other hand, she forcibly inaugurates highways, circuit bench (of the Calcutta High Court in Jalpaiguri). She deserves this. Whatever has happened is perfect," said Ghosh.

CPI-M legislator and the leader of the Left Front legislative party Sujon Chakraborty said Trinamool has no moral right to complain, as Banerjee herself, as Railway Minister, had started the trend of opening railway projects without inviting the state government functionaries.

"So, neither Trinamool, nor Mamata Banerjee has any moral right to complain,"he added.