In a sudden and surprising move at the height of the nationwide protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) chief minister Mamata Banerjee today announced she won’t attend a meeting of Opposition parties on the issue convened by Congress president Sonia Gandhi on 13 January.

During a discussion on a Bill in the state Assembly she flew into a rage when the Opposition Congress and the CPI-M complained the Speaker hadn’t allowed them to adopt a resolution against CAA.

Referring to yesterday’s violence in the state during the 24-hour nationwide strike by central trade unions, she accused the two parties of “playing dirty politics” over the CAA-NRC issue by turning a peaceful agitation into a violent show and announced she won’t attend the 13 January Opposition meeting.

She asserted she was the first to raise her voice against the CAANRC and would rather go it alone on the matter. “I’m sorry, the way the Left and the Congress are playing dirty politics over protest against the CAA-NRC, it’s not possible for me to join them. I am tendering my apology to all the Opposition parties for my inability to attend the meeting which, in fact, was my idea.

The Congress and the CPI-M are opposing CAA-NRC in Delhi, but here in the state they are observing a bandh,” she said. “No double standard will be tolerated here. I’m fighting the two issues and the BJP alone and would go it alone,”she added. “After the huge success of the bandh, especially in Bengal, the Trinamul supremo needed an alibi to keep herself away from the Opposition and mollify her bosses at the Centre,” said CPI-M legislature party leader Sujan Chakraborty. Congress MLA Abdul Mannan said the meeting would be held as per schedule and Miss Banerjee’s absence won’t make any difference.