West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday cut short her speech at a function organised by the Railways at Arambagh in Hooghly district when a large crowd threatened to storm the podium even as she held the railway authorities at fault for not organising the event properly.
Ms. Banerjee took out her anger on a senior railway official when she saw an impending stampede-like situation.
“You were asked to set up the stage the other way. Why didn't you listen to what the DM [District Magistrate] and the SP [Superintendent of Police] had suggested,” Ms. Banerjee said to the official even as Railway Minister Mukul Roy stood by her side.
Ms. Banerjee was the chief guest at the event organised to inaugurate a new broad-gauge line from Arambagh to Tarakeshwar.
Large crowds had gathered at the venue and barely a few minutes into Ms. Banerjee's speech, people tried to push through the barricade separating them from the podium.
Seeing her attempts to calm the crowd failing, Ms. Banerjee said she would rather not continue with her address.
“A few lakh people have assembled here. I will get other opportunities to address you. There can be a stampede if I continue. I do not want that to happen,” Ms. Banerjee told the gathering before hurrying through the flagging off of a newly-introduced train and unveiling plaques to commemorate the event.
She sought to pacify the crowds, saying she was sorry for the mismanagement.
“I had asked the Railways to organise the programme. From now on, I will organise it myself,” she told the gathering.