Mamata puts CPM in a fix over Basu's birth anniversary event

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Mamata Banerjee
Kolkata, Jun 30: It seems the politicians in West Bengal love to blow petty issues out of proportions. This time, the ruling party and the opposition have locked horns over observing birthdays of the later political stalwarts of the state.

The government had decided to observe the birth anniversary of the former chief minister, Bidhan Chandra Roy, two days ahead of the actual date, i.e., Jul 1 (which also is his death anniversary and is observed as the Doctor's Day for Roy was also a noted physician) for the scheduled day is a Sunday. The chief minister felt celebrating an occasion on a holiday was of little use for most of the employees remain absent. The opposition, however, did not support the move, saying it was not apt and decided to stay away from the occasion.

"If we can celebrate birthdays on any day of a year, then what is the point of having a particular date? We will observe the birthday of Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy in our own way on the actual date and not before," leader of the opposition and senior CPI(M) leader Surjya Kanta Mishra said. He mocked the Trinamool leadership saying the latter forgot birthdays of other personalities. "It is not enough to remember Ruby Roy (an RD Burman's song about a man's unreciprocated love) but also Bidhan Roy," Mishra said, making a reference of Mamata Banerjee's decision to observe the birth anniversary of ace musician RD Burman two days ago of the actual date, as well. Many of the Congress leaders also skipped the event.

While speaking on the occasion, Speaker of the Bengal assembly Biman Banerjee said, Rabindranath Tagore's birthday was also observed on Poila or 1st Boisakh or the Bengali New Year's Day in Santiniketan for on the bard's actual birthday, 25th Boisakh, the institute remained close due to the summer vacation. Mishra was not convinced though.

However, it seems Banerjee yet scored a point over her arch-rivals by announcing that her government would also observe the birth anniversary of another political stalwart, Jyoti Basu. Basu's birthday on Jul 8 also falls on a Sunday and given Banerjee's stand of observing an event on a working day and the CPI(M)'s stand opposing it, it is likely that the former will make the CPI(M) end of skipping an occasion organised in the honour of its patriarch. Mishra said that his party would observe Basu's birth anniversary on the given day.

The chief minister accused the CPI(M) of playing divisive politics over the birthday issue. She said the former Left Front government never observed birth anniversaries of the great men and it was her government that had started the ritual.

Banerjee also had the final laugh of the day when one of the CPI(M) MLAs asked her about the rising prices and declining rupee. The CM, as if was waiting for such a question, shot back saying the CPI(M) could ask New Delhi, one of its 'friends', about it. She also replied in the same tone when asked why the National Women's Commission was emphasising on the worrying condition of security of women in the state.

Banerjee's replies showed she was frustrated by the former Finance Minister's Pranab Mukherjee's alleged inaction of providing the much-sought financial package to the state and the decision by the CPI(M) to back his presidential candidature and hence termed the Congress as an ally of the CPI(M). Banerjee also slammed former CPI(M) minister Abdur Rezzak Mollah over the latter's allegation that Jangalmahal was still not peaceful and could explode at anytime again. "It seems he has grown a camaraderie with the extremist forces and hence could not happy over the return of peace in Jangalmahal," she said.

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