Indrani Dutta

Kolkata: Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said on Thursday that new forms of political agitation had been cropping up in the State since the Lok Sabha elections and it is important to give thought to see whether this form of politics is acceptable. He was participating in a discussion on the Mangalkot incident in the Legislative Assembly.

The legislature was in turmoil right from the start, with the Trinamool Congress staging a walkout even as the Chief Minister was speaking and the Congress following suit later. Speaking on the incident, Mr. Bhattacharjee said: “The Congress team was carrying relief material, earlier the same thing had happened with state Ministers trying to visit Khejuri – these sorts of incidents were not there in West Bengal earlier, no party can accept this.”

“Another trend is also visible – trees are being felled, roads being cut up and policemen and administration are being blocked and obstructed — is it right?.” He also mentioned the experience of legislator Gopal Naik, a senior citizen who had mud smeared on him by Trinamool Congress supporters while accompanying the Chief Minister to visit Cyclone Aila victims. “These things were alien to West Bengal,” he said adding that the atmosphere of democracy, of mutual respect was getting spoilt.

Condemning the Mangalkot incident, Mr. Bhattacharjee said that it was possible that the police had failed to assess the situation. “They could not gauge the tense situation which ultimately led to mob frenzy. There was no problem when the Congress leaders had gone there earlier — the entire matter needs investigation.”

However, while sharing the anguish of Manas Bhuia, the Congress Legislature Party team member, who had to run for his life, he said that allegations made on the floor of the House that the entire episode was pre-meditated, in which the State Industry Minister Nirupam Sen had a hand, were not proper. “I have asked for a report from the district committee of the party and the guilty will be punished.”

No clubbing of problems

The Chief Minister was unwilling to club together the problems of the State, saying that the problem of the hills in Darjeeling was unique as were that of Lalgarh and Nandigram and Khejuri. To the Congress members , he said that the State government was prepared to compensate all those who had lost their home and hearth in Mangalkot, irrespective of their party affiliations.

Speaker Mr. Halim concurred with the Chief Minister that for some time the State had been passing through a turbulent situation, which seemed to have got aggravated after the Lok Sabha elections. “The politics of revenge, of occupation of areas was going on,” he said adding that he saw a dark cloud over West Bengal which went through a bad time in the seventies. “Many had become widows and orphans during those days, which are now threatening to come back,” he feared. This was not good for State politics. He said that the time had now come for a political consensus to evolve.

Mr. Bhuia said the party wanted the immediate removal of the district magistrate and the police superintendent of Bardhaman.