TMC lawmakers boycotted the inauguration of the Sealdah metro station in Kolkata on Monday, alleging that the Indian Railways has "insulted" Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The station, a part of the East-West Metro corridor, is scheduled to be inaugurated by Union minister Smriti Irani virtually from Howrah in the evening.
"We decided to boycott the programme as the Indian Railways have insulted our chief minister. Everybody knows how much work Mamata Banerjee has done to ensure seamless passenger services during her tenure as the railway minister," TMC's North Kolkata MP Sudip Bandopadhyay. The Metro Railway Kolkata, which is a part of the Indian Railways, on Sunday night said they sent the invitations for the programme to the Chief Minister's Office (CMO), local MP Bandyopadhyay and local TMC MLA Paresh Pal.
The TMC has been claiming that the railways scheduled the inauguration on Monday, knowing very well that the chief minister would be not in the city to attend it. Also, the invitation was sent to her office at the "last minute" under public pressure. Banerjee is on a tour to northern West Bengal.
Criticising the TMC, BJP leader Rahul Sinha said the ruling party is "paying for its past sins". "During the Left Front government, Mamata Banerjee, as the railway minister, did not invite then chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee to official functions on several occasions. So they should be the last to talk about courtesy," he said.
"Even then, the chief minister, and the local TMC MP and MLA were invited, but they want to make an issue out of it," Sinha added. The foundation stone for the East-West Metro project, which will connect Howrah to Kolkata and Salt Lake when fully operational, was laid in February 2009 by the then chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.
(With PTI Inputs)