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Mamata keeps Singur programmes indoors
Public meet cancelled

Calcutta, Nov. 29: Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today cancelled some of the events that would have followed her administrative meeting in Singur tomorrow.

While sources in the chief minister’s office maintained that she was supposed to hold only an administrative meeting, the president of the Trinamul-run Singur panchayat samiti said Mamata was to have handed out doles to some farmers at the BDO office itself.

“This evening we received a message from the chief minister’s office saying that apart from the meeting, all other programmes had been cancelled,” Pratima Das told The Telegraph.

Mamata today said: “Only a couple of days ago, the Jagaddhatri immersion took place. I don’t want to bother people by holding a public rally now.”

While Mamata, according to Das, was never meant to attend any public event in Singur, it had been earlier decided that after the administrative meeting, the chief minister would call some villagers to the BDO office and give hand carts to marginal farmers and cheques to self-help groups and people for building houses under the Indira Awaas Yojana.

“But these events were cancelled this evening. I have been asked to contact the people who were supposed to receive the cheques and the hand carts and tell them that the programme is off,” Das said.

Some Trinamul leaders said Mamata wanted to curtail her programme because of the resentment among people in Singur over the “shunting” of local MLA and minister Rabindranath Bhattacharya from the agriculture department to the relatively insignificant statistics and programme implementation.

“I don’t think the Trinamul leadership wants Mamata to mingle much with local residents in case they say anything to embarrass her,” a Trinamul leader said.

He added that besides the resentment over Bhattacharya, some local leaders are also worried after minister Becharam Manna was heckled yesterday over delay in receiving subsidised rice and a monthly allowance.

At Writers’ this afternoon, Mamata confirmed she would visit Singur tomorrow to hold the administrative meeting.

“I will go to Singur tomorrow. I am yet to visit three districts — Hooghly, Purulia and Bankura — for reviewing developments this year. After Singur, I will go to Purulia on December 2 and the next day, I will hold administrative meetings in Purulia and Bankura,” Mamata said.

The chief minister had earlier decided to hold the Hooghly meeting at the district headquarters in Chinsurah. But on November 22, a day after a change in Bhattacharya’s portfolio and his revolt thereafter, Mamata shifted the venue to Singur.

She said she chose the Singur BDO office to show her respect to the farmers who had raised their voice against the forceful acquisition of land.

Mamata, however, played down the agitation by “unwilling” farmers against Manna, the newly appointed minister of state for agriculture, in Singur yesterday.

“Nothing much happened in Singur. If 400 people stand in a queue, such chaos happens,” the chief minister said.