Left pays homage to Jyoti basu on the road
Kolkata, July 8 (IANS) Left Front members protested outside the West Bengal assembly Sunday after the speaker denied entry to former lawmakers to pay respect to former chief minister Jyoti Basu on his 99th birthday.
The former legislators, including Hashim Abdul Halim, who was the speaker for 29 years from 1982 to 2011, later paid floral tribute to Basu on the road outside the assembly gate.
The drama began soon after the Left legislators accompanied by former ministers and legislators arrived at an assembly state for the programme.
Assembly marshall Debabrata Majumdar told them that only present members could go in.
Left representatives protested and got into heated exchanges between with Mazumdar and other security personnel.
Communist Party of India-Marxist legislator Anisur Rahman demanded a written order.
The leader of the opposition, Surjya Kanta Mishra, then called up Speaker Biman Banerjee from his mobile in full glare of the media.
"Sir, former MLAs, some of whom won their first election in 1971, ex-ministers, many of them old, are standing outside the assembly. Are they criminals or what? All of them have identity cards. But your marshall is obstructing them. Kindly instruct to him to let them in," Mishra said.
While Banerjee's reply was not known, Mishra told his colleagues that the present members would pay floral tributes at Basu's portrait and then the former legislators would pay tributes outside the assembly.
Mishra later hit out at the government.
"Today is Basu's birthday, but his colleagues, some of whom have worked in the assembly with him for decades, were not allowed to go in," he said. "This smacks of political vendetta."
The Left members boycotted Friday's official programme in the assembly saying it was an insult to Basu that his birthday was held on another day only to suit Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's convenience.
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