Indrani Dutta

KOLKATA: Little did Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee know that an off-the-cuff observation about an area associated with his childhood memories would snowball into a “controversy” and be used against him. But then, poll times are difficult times when no opportunity is missed.

So much so that Mr. Bhattacharjee on Saturday issued a statement to set at rest the matter and assuage bruised sentiments. He said anyone would understand the gameplan behind stirring up a controversy, when there was none.

Caught in a reminiscent mood on Thursday, when he was launching the website of Md. Selim, CPI(M) candidate from Kolkata Uttar (North), Mr. Bhattacharjee said he remembered the nooks and cranies of the locality in North Kolkata, where he was born and perhaps some of the families who were his neighbours would still remember him.

“I see a special warmth in the people of this place,” he said. The venue of the function, the ‘Sovabazar Rajbari,’ a palatial mansion listed as one of the city’s oldest heritage buildings, may have further sparked his nostalgia.

Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee was quick to seize the opportunity. She said Mr. Bhattacharjee was trying to drive a wedge between the people of the North and the South parts of the city. She said she would hold a ‘Raksha Bandhan’ to unite the people of the two localities.

To put matters to rest, Mr. Bhattacharjee issued a statement saying that a person’s birthplace — whether it be a village or a city — occupies a special sentimental corner in a person’s mind.