Kolkata, Sep 7 (IANS) A day after the BJP alleged that a state-owned indoor stadium where its President Amit Shah was scheduled to attend a programme next week had cancelled their booking, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday slammed the party, accusing it of deliberately trying to stir up a controversy.
Contending that even the state government did not get access to the Netaji Indoor Stadium for their own meeting on Thursday which was held at Nazrul Mancha instead, she, without naming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said: “Some people are doing a drama… they love to spread canards and indulge in mudslinging on every single point.”
“They are deliberately booking on the day it’s already been taken. They are cribbing about it and saying ‘I did not get the hall’. Then let me also cry that ‘I did not get Netaji Indoor (Stadium)’. Does this behaviour suit anyone? It doesn’t.”
Shah will be in the city on a three day visit from September 11-13.
State BJP General Secretary Sayantan Basu had said on Wednesday: “Netaji Indoor stadium authorities had accepted our booking. We had event sent a letter to them and it was taken then. But on August 30 when we sent our people to check on the booking, we were told that the stadium was booked for the entire month, except for the Durga Puja days between September 26-30.”
The development comes close on the heels after authorities at state-run auditorium Mahajati Sadan cancelled the booking for an October 3 programme which RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat was scheduled to attend.
Stressing on adherence to ethics, Banerjee said even she, despite her position and the privileges that come with it, adjusted her events, depending on availability of particular venues.
“I was told this venue is not spacious enough to accommodate so many people. We had wanted to organise the meeting at Netaji Indoor Stadium but since it was already booked for the day by others…. I maintain some ethics,” she said while addressing state government employees’ federation meeting.
“How can I cancel a booking for a programme on day at the venue which has been booked in advance by others? If the programme is continuous one which runs for days, and if I cancel booking for a day… the how will they do the event? I myself did not get Netaji Indoor Stadium. Why should I violate the law,” she asked.
“I have shifted my programme to a smaller venue instead. Many people had to sit on the floor… we couldn’t invite many. This inconvenience had to be faced because we could not get the booking at Netaji Indoor Stadium.
“Due to obligation and timing we had to adjust… if we can adjust our programme (others can also do the same). Some people are crying foul about it and are saying the state government is scared…. why would I be scared,” she added.
At the meeting, Banerjee announced an enhancement of 15 per cent in dearness allowance for state government employees from next January and assured that the arrears would be cleared by 2019.
She said the increased allowance would cost the exchequer about Rs 4,500 crore.