Rap on Roy for pat on Prabhu

Trinamul’s Dum Dum MP praises railway minister for progress in Metro projects, earns party flak

  • Published 22.02.16

Trinamul Congress MP Saugata Roy on Sunday praised railway minister Suresh Prabhu, who he said was above politics - a comment that earned him yet another censure from the party.

"Humlog to sab cheez mein politics kartey hain. Mantriji politics ke upar hain (We do politics in everything, but the minister is above politics)," the MP from Dum Dum said at a programme on the airport premises, in the presence of the minister.

Roy, in support of her praise for Prabhu, said the minister had shown keen interest in taking forward the Metro projects in the city that Mamata Banerjee had announced during her tenure as railway minister.

"Since she (Mamata) had left, the projects had been floundering. Now I can again see development in the projects. So many pillars are coming up along EM Bypass and New Town, and the Behala stretch of the Joka-BBD Bag Metro is almost complete," Roy said.

The words of praise came shortly before he talked about a railway underpass in Sodepur, in North 24-Parganas, which was made 3m-wide despite his request to Prabhu to make it 6m-wide.

"You had agreed to make it wider but now your officials say it can't be done because of some technical issues. You are above politics and a man of work, but your officials are not so. I request you to look into the matter," said Roy.

Soon after the programme, Trinamul slammed the veteran politician for his "unnecessary" comment. Trinamul secretary-general Partha Chatterjee said: "Our party chief has told him again and again to speak in the party forum and not in public. The party discipline cannot be broken. So he has to be warned."

Sources said Roy had also praised Jadavpur University vice-chancellor Suranjan Das for not acting against the students who had allegedly raised anti-India slogans to protest the police crackdown on Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Trinamul insiders said Roy's habit of asserting his position in the party as a member of the "old guard" and creating controversies through statements had irked Mamata Banerjee.

"Didi has taken exception to Saugatada's statement at a Trinamul workers' meet, where he called for appointment of the old guard who had fought in Singur and Nandigram in key organisational posts," a senior leader said.

"Didi had personally cautioned Saugatada against making any comment that might embarrass the party and create a hullabaloo."

The chief minister is also believed to have warned Roy that he would not be invited to party programmes before the Assembly polls if he continued to make "unwanted" statements. Despite the censure, insiders said, Roy has not restrained himself.

As for Roy's pat on Prabhu's back in regard to Metro projects, several officials this newspaper spoke to alleged that lack of political will of the ruling party had stalled work.

In fact, the Barasat end of the Barasat-Noapara-Airport project - work on the construction of a tunnel between Jessore Road and the airport, a part of the link, started on Sunday - is still stuck because of encroachments.

Asked about encroachments on various project sites, Roy told Metro on the sidelines of the programme: "We cannot remove people from their houses or kill someone to facilitate a Metro project. Metro will have to find a way out."