Scores of artistes, activists and intellectuals, who had supported Mamata Banerjee in her quest to defeat the Marxists a year ago, on Tuesday marched on the streets of Kolkata warning the Chief Minister of the consequences of slipping into “the CPM’s shoes”.
This in the backdrop of police action against Jadavpur University professor Ambikesh Mahapatra, who had forwarded a cartoon lampooning Mamata. While there was a buzz that the protest meeting and the rally will be graced by actor Aparna Sen and theatre personality Kaushik Sen — both frontline activists of the forum who had organised rallies, sit-ins and interactions with PCAPA chief Chhatradhar Mahato in the run-up to Trinamool’s victory — the actors didn’t turn up citing lack of time.
“They (Aparna and Kaushik) are still associated with the organisation and support our stand. However, they couldn’t come up because we couldn’t inform them in advance,” said Dilip Chakraborty, secretary of the forum.
Professor Ambikesh Mahapatra, however, made up for their absence and flagged off the rally which started from College Square.
The Trinamool and especially Mamata Banerjee has had a series of run-ins with her once-supporters, several of whom have been accusing her of turning her back to promises made during the election. The latest rally and meeting was in the same vein of dissent. Chakraborty said, “We had supported Banerjee and also helped her lead what was a mass movement against the Left because she assured us that if she assumes office, she will keep the government and the party as two separate entities. She will not let her partymen rule the roost in the state like the CPM. However, with professor Mahapatra’s arrest, she proved herself wrong.”
The forum, which was formed in 2007 and came into full force with popular intellectual support post the Nandigram firing incident, interestingly, had served as several of Banerjee’s platforms in the run-up to the 2011 Assembly elections.
Tarun Mondal, SUCI MLA from Joynagar, today accused Banerjee of doing what she had accused the Left of. The eviction of the Nonadanga slum-dwellers, he said, was unlawful and completely against what Banerjee had promised them. Sukhendu Bhattacharya, assistant secretary of the Bandimukti Committee added that she has even backtracked on the promise to release political prisoners. “She had talked of setting up a review committee. I have no clue what work it has done to review the prisoners,” he said.