Singur, sad, sad: Former Calcutta High Court judge

Nadira Patherya said this during a Trinamul-organised session on 'Upholding Bengal’s Pluralism'

By Sandip Chowdhury in Calcutta
  • Published 10.12.18, 4:19 AM
  • Updated 10.12.18, 10:39 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Nadira Patherya, retired Calcutta High Court judge. The Telegraph file picture

A session on pluralism organised by the Trinamul Congress’s social media cell has lived up to its name by hosting independent views on a few sensitive subjects.

“Singur, sad, sad; unemployment: no, no; and no industry,” retired Calcutta High Court judge Nadira Patherya said during her three-minute intervention on Sunday during a session on “Upholding Bengal’s Pluralism”.

“I keep listening to FM radio…. They (probably radio jockeys) talk about ghar wapsi (bringing Bengali talent back to the state). But I think if people living here get a better life, people living outside will automatically come back,” the former judge said.

Her comments stood out against those made by 11 other speakers at the “Idea of Bengal” conclave.

Sources in the ruling party said that the programme, a brainchild of Trinamul Congress Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien, was organised as part of an urban outreach programme ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. O’Brien moderated a session on “Black Money and Broken Promises”.

The other topics were “Healthcare Then, Healthcare Now, Healthcare India, Healthcare Bengal” and “Upholding Bengal’s Pluralism”.

The speakers were given two to three minutes to express their views on the topics.

The topics suggest the objective was to highlight the perceived failures of the Narendra Modi government and contrast them with the performance of the Mamata Banerjee government.

Yashwant Sinha, once with the BJP and now a critic of the Modi regime, gifted Trinamul enough ammunition by focusing on the demerits of the demonetisation and terming a “jumla” the impression created by Modi that Rs 15 lakh could be deposited into each Indian’s account by unearthing black money.

“Only a fool can make such a promise,” said Sinha, drawing peals of laughter.

“You are calling the PM a fool?” O’Brien asked with a chuckle and the hall erupted in laughter. “I had said this during the campaign itself and at that point of time, he was a prime ministerial candidate,” Sinha replied.

Later, speaking to reporters, Sinha heaped praise on the state government for making Calcutta an “improved” place.

On Mamata’s chances of becoming the next Prime Minister, Sinha said: “She has all the qualities to be the face of the coalition of Opposition parties.”

Trinamul sources said the programme had been recorded and the speeches would be used as campaign material on social media in the run-up to the polls. It remains to be seen whether Patherya’s observations make it as campaign material.