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Left poser ire at Mamata

Calcutta, Nov. 29: The Left today boycotted the Assembly session alleging that the chief minister was “reluctant” to answer questions pertaining to departments under her.

When Speaker Biman Banerjee refused to allow discussions on police allegedly roughing up CPM leaders and social activists during a Saradha-related protest in front of the Bidhannagar commissionerate yesterday, the Left MLAs started protesting and staged a walkout.

“We wanted to raise the Saradha issue in the House today. We wanted to know the government’s stand. But the chief minister is never available. She would not speak. Who will reply to questions related to her home department? Jokhoni Saradha ba kalker ghatona ar greftaar er katha tuli, omni gola shukiye jaye (Their voices get choked whenever we try to raise the Saradha issue or yesterday’s incident and arrests),” Opposition leader Surjya kanta Mishra of the CPM said at a news conference after the walkout.

The Left had boycotted yesterday’s House proceedings too over the Speaker’s refusal to allow discussion on another issue.

Mamata was present in the Assembly today as she replies to questions related to departments under her control on Fridays. Today, the chief minister, who replied to a question on the health department, arrived after the Left MLAs started protesting.

“The ruling party doesn’t want to take questions on Saradha. It’s scared. The chief minister should speak on the Saradha issue,” Mishra said at the news conference.

“In the past 30 months, she didn’t find time to answer our questions. She doesn’t talk about Saradha,” he added.

Former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee used to come to the Assembly on Thursdays and during the tabling of the budget or during important discussions.

Opposition MLAs have been demanding for some time that Mamata attend question hour on Fridays. MLAs from both the Left and the Congress today claimed that questions related to the chief minister’s departments were not being listed.

“I submitted 63 questions, including 15 related to the home department, but didn’t receive answers to any one of them,” said CPM MLA Shahjahan Chowdhury. The Congress’s Asit Mitra echoed him.

Speaker Banerjee denied the allegations tonight. “Everything is happening according to rules,” he said.

Left leaders, including CPM state secretary Biman Bose, lashed out at the government at a rally in Rani Rashmoni Avenue this afternoon, accusing the administration of trying to stifle the voice of the Opposition on the Saradha default issue.

“The ruling party is trying to suppress facts and not answering questions on Saradha,” Bose said.