Chief minister Mamata Banerjee today left for Junglemahal on a three-day tour
If a helicopter makes an emergency landing because of bad weather or whatever other reason, it is not that unlikely for persons on board to sustain an injury or two if not more. In many cases worse happens. And in rare cases the ideal situation prevails and the travelers come out unscathed.
It is unfortunate therefore that snide remarks should emanate from rival political camps after it was reported that West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had sustained injuries when her helicopter had to make an emergency landing, while she was returning to Bagdogra Airport after addressing an election rally in Jalpaiguri’s Chekunda Bandari in north Bengal on the afternoon of July 27.
The sequence of events was as follows: It was raining heavily and the helicopter was flying over the hills and forests of Baikunthapur. Because of the turbulent weather, the pilot decided to make an emergency landing at the nearest airbase, the Indian Air Force’s Sevoke Military Airbase. Though the chopper landed safely, the CM had nevertheless suffered a few injuries to her legs, hips and back. She was reportedly injured while she was getting off the chopper after landing. She rested at the airbase for about half an hour and apparently interacted with the IAF officials. State government officials, waiting for her at Bagdogra Airport rushed to the airbase on hearing the news. They included the Darjeeling District Magistrate, Commissioner of Police and Officer on Special Duty of Uttakanya, a wing of the state secretariat in North Bengal. Later, the CM was driven to Bagdogra Airport, from where she boarded a special flight to Kolkata. On arrival she was rushed to the SSKM Hospital where she reportedly underwent an MRI at around 5:30 in the evening. According to reports, a team of five doctors, including a cardiac surgeon had attended to her. According to the hospital’s medical bulletin later in the evening, the CM had suffered ligament injuries to her left knee joint and left hip. The bulletin further stated that she was advised to get admitted but she preferred to continue the treatment at home.
Yesterday’s injury has drawn parallels with the incident before the Assembly elections of 2021, when Banerjee had sustained an injury to her left leg while campaigning. Her leg was put on a plaster but she nevertheless continued to campaign in a wheelchair. The incident had caused a stir at that time with a section of her political rivals insinuating that it was a ploy to earn the sympathy of the voters. Trinamool however, took such jibes sportingly, quite literally, with Didi’s team of campaign managers coining slogans like, “khela hobe” (The game is on) or “bhanga payei khela hobey” ( Leg broken? So what? The game is still on).
This time too the Opposition hasn’t let go of a chance to point to the coincidence. “Whenever elections get scheduled, the CM gets injuries in her leg,” said Bengal BJP president, Sukanta Majumdar. He did not, however, forget to wish her a speedy recovery and said, “However, I wish for her a speedy recovery.”
The “get well soon” wishes and messages arrived from others as well, from both political rivals as well as allies.
West Bengal Governor CV Anand Bose called up Banerjee immediately after hearing of the emergency landing and enquired about her health. A message from the official Twitter Handle of the West Bengal Governor read, “Honorable Governor CV Ananda Bose is relieved to know that the Honorable Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is safe after the emergency landing of her helicopter today. Dr Bose enquired about her safety and wellbeing.”