Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju said here on Sunday that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee “is very intolerant and not prepared to listen to others,” adding that “politicians should be able to put up with criticism.”
“The people have a right to criticise you and you must listen to that” was the former Supreme Court judge’s advice to Ms. Banerjee.
“The one defect in the Chief Minister is that she wants yes-men around her,” he said, while speaking to The Hindu.
Referring to Chanakya, the philosopher and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the country’s first Home Minister, he said, “a ruler should have good advisers.” “Mamata should also be like that and listen to her advisers.”
He, however, had a word of praise for Ms. Banerjee. “I have said in the past that she has an integrity which is very rare. She leads a simple life and feels for the common people.”
Referring to incidents where Ms. Banerjee was widely criticised for her intolerance of dissent — the arrest of a university professor for circulating an e-mail containing graphics directed at her, calling a student a Maoist during a television show and the arrest of a farmer at a rally addressed by her for raising a question over the hike in fertilizer prices — Justice Katju said: “If she apologises she will go sky-high in the minds of the people.”