TMC sings, Delhi sweats

Capital cops taken aback by 'energy levels' of MPs bound for PM's home

By Imran Ahmed Siddiqui
  • Published 5.01.17
MP Kalyan Banerjee in New Delhi. Picture by Ramakant Kushwaha

New Delhi, Jan. 4: Delhi police today got a taste of the histrionics Calcutta is used to after they barred 34 Trinamul Congress lawmakers from taking their battle to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's official residence.

For a little over three hours, the cops remained on tenterhooks at Tughlaq Road police station as the MPs raised slogans and sang Rabindra Sangeet to protest the arrest of their colleague Sudip Bandyopadhyay.

"It was a very tough day.... They are very tough to deal with," said an IPS officer.

The police station where the MPs were taken to is where the FIRs in the assassinations of Mahatma Gandhi and later Indira Gandhi were registered.

Led by Saugata Roy and Derek O'Brien, the MPs assembled at the party office inside the Parliament complex at 2.30pm and drove towards the Prime Minister's residence about 2.5km away. After half-a-kilometre, some of them got off and started marching.

The police stopped them, took them to the Tughlaq Road police station and barricaded the road, following which the rest of the MPs walked to the police station.

A source said the original plan was to march to South Block but a call from Calcutta made the MPs head to the Prime Minister's residence. Modi was at home at the time.

The MPs sat on dharna inside the police station compound and shouted slogans - Modi hatao, desh bachao (Remove Modi, save the country) and Jo Mamata se takrayega/ choor choor ho jayega (Whoever clashes with Mamata will be shattered to pieces). After nearly 40 minutes, the MPs sat on chairs provided by the police and sang songs, including Jodi tor daak sune keu na aashe tobe ekla chalo re....

The constables offered them tea and snacks but they refused. "The MPs later gave money to a constable and asked him to buy tea and samosas for them," said an officer.

A little after 5pm, the police told the MPs they could go but they stayed put till around 6pm. "They have exemplary high energy levels. We heaved a sigh of relief after they left," the officer said.