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CM does not iterate conspiracy allegation

Bengal polls 2021: Mamata Banerjee vows to campaign in wheelchair

The initial report goes against a claim of the saffron ecosystem that her vehicle hit a pole and the door slammed into her
Mamata in hospital
Mamata in hospital
The Telegraph picture

Meghdeep Bhattacharyya, Snehamoy Chakraborty, Kinsuk Basu   |   Calcutta   |   Published 12.03.21, 03:03 AM

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday issued a video message from her hospital bed, urging “calm and restraint” from her supporters and vowing not to let the injuries disrupt her campaign even if it meant using a wheelchair.

“I hope I will be able to return to the field in two-three days. But the problem in my leg will probably linger. But I will manage. I will not spoil any of my meetings. But I might have to use a wheelchair for a few days. I will request your cooperation,” Mamata said in the video clip tweeted by Trinamul.


But it was not clear whether medical advice would allow Mamata to go ahead with her weekend campaign rallies in areas that would go to polls in the first phase on March 27.

Some protests have been reported in the state after the chief minister was injured in Nandigram on Wednesday.

“I would like to tell everybody, my brothers and sisters who form the masses, my brothers and sisters who are workers... it is true that I was hurt very badly yesterday, and I have injuries in my arms and legs, in a ligament. Yesterday, there was a lot of pain also in the head and the chest after such a serious injury,” Mamata said.

In the 79-second video, the chief minister did not iterate the conspiracy allegation she had levelled on Wednesday. Neither did she blame anyone.

A preliminary report from the district administration, including police, said a group of men from among the hundreds who were running behind the chief minister’s Scorpio had collided with a concrete pillar (meant to block heavy vehicles) on the road and fallen on the car’s fortified door, which slammed against Mamata. 

The early report of the administration partly corroborates Mamata’s description of the events although it does not go into the conspiracy theory. 

The initial report goes against a claim of the saffron ecosystem that her vehicle hit a pole and the door slammed into Mamata. 

The suggestion that a huge crowd was allowed to gather around the chief minister and that could be the trigger for the incident has raised the question whether policing was adequate when she was in Nandigram.

The administration is technically under the Election Commission during the poll process although the panel has contested such suggestions.

The chief minister said in the video: “I was standing on the footboard of the car, offering namaskar, when such a forceful pressure came that the car pressed against my leg. In that situation, whatever medicines I was carrying, I had them… rushed towards Calcutta. Since then, I have been under treatment.”

From her bed in the Woodburn Ward of SSKM, Mamata continued: “I request everybody to stay calm and restrained, stay well. Do not do anything that inconveniences the people.”

The chief minister concluded by hinting that she might have to use a wheelchair for a few days.

Trinamul sources said Mamata’s tour programme for the Jungle Mahal areas this weekend might be changed. But organisers elsewhere had been instructed to put in place ramps and other provisions necessary to make the venues wheelchair-friendly.

Before the injuries, Mamata was scheduled to visit Purulia on Saturday and hold three rallies in the Jhalda, Jaypur and Balarampur Assembly constituencies. On Sunday, she was supposed to visit Bankura for rallies in Saltora, Chhatna and Raipur. On Monday, two rallies have been lined up in Jhargram and Gopiballabhpur.

Officially, the programmes stood unchanged till Thursday evening but party sources said the events might be cancelled if medical advice suggested such a precaution.

Leaders in the Jungle Mahal districts of Purulia, Bankura and Jhargram have been asked to construct ramps at all the eight venues. 

On an eventful day when all stakeholders in Bengal politics tried to assess the possible impact of the Nandigram incident on the Assembly elections, Trinamul uploaded a tweet urging calm before Mamata’s video message was shared on social media.

“We appeal to all our workers to not let their emotions overflow. We understand your concerns and we’ll keep updating about Hon’ble @MamataOfficial’s health. We request to maintain peace and not resort to means which Didi would not approve of. Let us all pray for her speedy recovery,” read the Trinamul tweet.

A senior cabinet colleague of Mamata said the appeals were necessitated by reports of protests, some of which appeared aggressive, and inputs on plans being made at various levels of the party in the districts to conduct more agitations over the next couple of days.

“That is why the party’s leadership met in the evening and took ownership of the protests — ensuring they would be peaceful — and formalised plans to ensure discipline,” the minister said.

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