Chief minister Mamata Banerjee publicly backed mayor Sovan Chatterjee in the trident-lamp controversy on Wednesday, saying that whatever he did was right.
“He worked under my guidance. I had asked him to distribute the contracts among small groups. The idea was that it would speed up work and the quality of work would also not suffer,” Mamata said at the inauguration of a musical fountain at Rabindra Sarobar.
“I did the same thing when I was in charge of the railway ministry. I asked him to follow the same model,” the chief minister declared.
Mayor Chatterjee, seated in a corner of the dais when Mamata spoke, smiled when she turned to call him by his pet name, Kanan.
That the mayor still enjoyed his leader’s support had become apparent when she returned to him the civic tax assessment and collection department a few days ago.
The public affirmation came on Wednesday.
Mamata said she had had a detailed discussion on the trident-lamp controversy with Chatterjee on Tuesday evening, when they were out for a walk in Kalighat between 8 and 9pm.
“I asked him why he looked so serious. He said that he was depressed over false news reports that were coming out in some of the newspapers almost every day over alleged discrepancies in the installation of trident lamps,” Mamata said.
The chief minister said she asked the mayor what the fuss was all about before advising him to continue whatever he was doing.
The Calcutta Municipal Corporation had split the project into over 230 contracts, dispensing with the process of formally inviting bids.